Concept

Douglas Cardinal

Résumé
Douglas Joseph Cardinal (born 7 March 1934) is a Canadian architect based in Ottawa, Ontario. His flowing architecture marked with smooth curvilinear forms is influenced by his Indigenous heritage as well as European Expressionist architecture. His passion for unconventional forms and appreciation of nature and landscape were present in his life from a very young age, and consequently developed into the unique architectural style he has employed throughout his career. Cardinal is perhaps best known for his designs of the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec (1989) and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. (1998). He is considered one of Canada's most influential contemporary Indigenous architects. Born in Calgary, Alberta, to parents Joseph and Frances Cardinal, Douglas Cardinal is the oldest of eight children. His father was of Siksika (Blackfoot), French and Ojibwe heritage, while his mother was of German, French and Mohawk/Métis descent. His mother worked as a nurse and was well educated. Cardinal's parents met in 1926, and in the first half of the 20th century women had very little status and rights. The patriarchal society did not recognize educated women like Frances Cardinal. However, his father's tribe's societal norms accepted a matrilineal culture, where women are very respected and admired. These cultural ideas shaped Cardinal's upbringing and affected his worldview and relationship with his heritage. He has recalled that his mother told him at a young age, “You’re going to be an architect.” Cardinal grew up a couple of miles outside the small city of Red Deer, Alberta. Cardinal was educated at St. Joseph's Convent Catholic, a boarding school for children who lived in the country and wanted to go beyond the 8th grade, which was all that most one-room country schools offered. Cardinal finished high school there. The much-loved Daughters of Wisdom who ran the boarding school taught both Catholic and Protestant children there, and like many other boarders, Cardinal was taught about arts and culture by the Sisters.
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