A passionate artist and architect, dedicated leader, community advocate, volunteer, philanthropist, devoted husband, dad, activist, and stalwart champion of the ‘underdog.’
This, is the lengthy legacy of Alberta ‘star’ architect, Ken Hutchinson — whose imprint will continue to transform the lives of Canadians, AU learners, and his beloved family, through his positive “glass half-full outlook on life.”
While the AU community has had much to celebrate this year, unfortunately, we have seen an inordinate amount of sadness as well. Today, is no exception, as we share the news of the passing, in Calgary, on April 14th, of Ken Hutchinson, a prominent Alberta architect, and yet another extraordinary member of the AU community.
Soon after moving to the Calgary area from his native Red Deer, Hutchinson built a prolific career as an architect, wielding tremendous design influence throughout Western Canada, with the hundreds of buildings fashioned and erected from his blueprints.
From schools and theatres to recreational centres, libraries, and fire halls throughout Alberta, B.C., and Saskatchewan, some of Hutchinson’s most iconic designs included the Saamis Teepee in Medicine Hat, Alta. (pictured to the right), the Westside Recreation Centre in Calgary, the Calgary Real Estate Board headquarters, the MacKenzie Towne Fire Hall, and, according to his obituary “the project closest to his heart,” the Hobbema Healing Lodge (PêSâkâstêw Centre) in Maskwacis.
Hutchinson was a Paul Harris Fellow, reserved for supporters of the Rotary Foundation of Rotary,a past president and lifetime member of the Alberta Association of Architects, and in 2010, he was inducted into the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. While regarded a pillar among his architecture peers in Western Canada, his bearings ran even deeper into the communities he valued and served, and from which he helped others to plant the seedlings for their own successes.
With a life’s mission devoted to service, and the contribution for a “better Alberta,” Hutchinson’s immeasurable philanthropy and penchant for making a difference, paved numerous pathways, transforming the lives of the many people and organizations with whom he connected.
His brilliant and creative design mind, coupled with an unwavering spirit of benevolence, resulted in the crafting of some enormous opportunities for those fortunate enough to cross Ken’s path — or even, indirectly, to connect with some small tendril of his kindness (even though he stood 6 feet, 7 inches tall!)
Yet, while his many Canadian communities, and architecture ‘family’ will mourn his passing, at the age of 74, after a lengthy illness, Hutchinson’s impact and influence will not soon be forgotten.
“Those who loved and admired Ken will greatly miss him as a pillar of generosity. He created a vibrant legacy of a life well-lived,” said Athabasca University Board Chair Vivian Manasc.
For the Athabasca University community, particularly the RAIC Centre for Architecture at AU, Hutchinson’s passing will be especially poignant. After all, his is the namesake behind the Ken and Janny Hutchinson Scholarship in Architecture — a $1,500 annual endowment for two AU students. Created by Hutchinson’s brother and sister-in-law, Ralph and Janet, and their company Daytona Homes, the scholarship honours the philanthropic values shared by Ken, and Janny, his beloved wife of 40 years.
Changing lives, two AU learners at a time
Since its inception in 2013, the Ken and Janny Hutchinson Scholarship in Architecture, has provided $18,000 to eight Athabasca University students. This year’s recipient, Salam Yousef, 26, knows just how far the Hutchinsons’ help can go.
The Edmonton-based learner in AU’s Bachelor of Science in Architecture (post-diploma) program attests the endowment monies she received, covered the tuition costs of the design course she started in January, of which she is finally wrapping up this week.
Tomorrow, she submits her last project.
Mr. Hutchinson’s generosity has inspired me to help others, and to give back to the community. I hope that one day I will be able to help students achieve their goals, just as I am achieving mine, because of his support.
~ Salam Yousef, AU student and recipient of the 2017-18 Ken and Janny Hutchinson Scholarship in Architecture.
Yousef, who will graduate next year, notes the Hutchinsons’ funding enabled her to keep her eyes on her coursework rather than fretting over finances. “Being awarded the Ken and Janny Hutchinson Scholarship in Architecture lightened my financial burden and helped me to focus more on the most important aspect of school and learning,” she said.
“Mr. Hutchinson’s generosity has inspired me to help others, and to give back to the community. I hope that one day I will be able to help students achieve their goals, just as I am achieving mine, because of his support.”
“‘Decorated architect,’ ‘devoted family man,’ and ‘community leader dedicated to providing support for those who need it the most’ — including our learners here at AU. These are but a few of the remarkable qualities Ken upheld throughout his career and life,'” said Athabasca University President Neil Fassina.
“On behalf of the entire Athabasca University Community, our warmest thoughts go out to Janny, Ralph, Keesa, Kodi, and the rest of Ken’s family. Thank you for your support of Athabasca University. Our learners will continue to reap the benefits of yours and Ken’s generosity.”
Hutchinson’s memorial was held in Calgary on Tuesday, April 24, at Eden Brook Memorial Gardens & Funeral Home. To share memories and condolences, please visit: www.arbormemorial.ca/obituaries.