Before graduating from the Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Architecture program at Athabasca University (AU), Nicolas Lamoureux said he had been all over the place both education and employment wise. He was forced to drop out of post-secondary schools twice due to personal reasons.
Finding the right path
Working a full-time job left him no time to pursue his education, so like many other AU learners, flexibility was vital in continuing his education while still earning an essential salary.
He has always had a roundabout interest in architecture. The physics and engineering grabbed his attention from a mathematical perspective, while the philosophy, creative thinking, and the more subjective sides of creativity attracted him in general.
“My father was also a draftsman who worked for engineering firms and eventually became a high school drafting teacher,” Lamoureux said. “It eventually dawned on me that a good mixture between the objective and the subjective sides of my interests was architecture.”
After high school, he went to the University of Western Ontario, in London, Ont., to study physics and philosophy, but was forced to drop out due to his father falling ill. He worked off and on at Pelee Island Winery in Kingsville, Ont., for several years in various positions, then at a winery called Weingut Georg Breuer in Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany, for a summer.
He then worked on Pelee Island again, in an old estate built in 1883 called the Pelee Club for a couple of summers. He eventually returned to his education, enrolling in St. Clair College to study architecture—but once again, personal reasons lead to him dropping out.
“I was fortunate to still land a job in the industry and I have been working at Marcovecchio Construction Ltd. in Ruthven, Ont., for five years now as an architectural designer, estimator, and project manager,” Lamoureux said. “I worked there full-time while in school finishing up the BSc in Architecture program at AU and continue to work here.”
The right supports
Lamoureux received constant support from both his mother and partner during his time at AU. Both constantly pushed him to keep going, with the latter showing him a lot of patience and helping him to see his own potential.
He said what he enjoyed most were the design studios in classes Dr. Henry Tsang, an assistant professor with the RAIC Centre for Architecture at AU.
“The design studio classes with Henry Tsang were challenging and engaging. Although I disagreed with him on some of the subjective qualities of my work, he always pushed me to make better and better projects,” he said. “Having guest critics like (AU professors) Trevor Butler and Veronica Madonna really helped to give a well-rounded critique at each session and it shaped my projects into more cohesive forms of what I was trying to accomplish.”
“Failure is equally important as success. Experiencing either of them is not a moment of finality but a push to keep going.”– Nicolas Lamoureux, Bachelor of Science in Architecture
Lamoureux has been accepteded into the Master of Architecture program at Lawrence Technological University where he will continue on his path to becoming a licensed architect, with the goal of working on passive house standards and creating homes that do more for their inhabitants.
“Passive House (Passivhaus) standards are, to me, the ultimate goal for well-designed architectural works. They consider a lot of what I learned at AU with regards to passive architecture—orientation, daylighting, natural ventilation, highly insulated and optimal wall systems, etc.—and go beyond that towards creating high-performance ultra-low-energy buildings,” he said. “It is important to me because the construction industry is one of the largest polluting and least efficient industries in the world. We have been building houses and buildings poorly for far too long. We need to do better, and we can do better.”
As a final note, Lamoureux has one piece of advice for future learners, as he looks back on his own experience earning a degree.
“Failure is equally important as success. Experiencing either of them is not a moment of finality but a push to keep going.”