. E-mail This Article

Design time ends

Clive Clark calls it quits after 28 years of Northern architecture

Maria Canton
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (Dec 18/00) - Having designed upwards of 25 buildings between two territories, Clive Clark is somewhat of an expert in Northern architecture.

In his office, amidst the stacks of rolled plans and a lone plant with yellowing leaves, Clark divulged the secrets that led him to a 28-year career which came to an end this month.

A longtime partner of Ferguson, Simek and Clark, the architect who subscribes to the philosophy of "form follows function" says the work can often be likened to putting together a complicated jigsaw puzzle.

"If a client encourages design that is interesting and practical, the challenge is really very exciting and not limiting in creativity at all," said Clark, who graduated from the University of Toronto in 1959.

"The nature of architecture in the North is very interesting because of the challenges -- snow drifting, heat loss, economics, timing for materials to meet the boat, sunlight and darkness."

As the design architect for Nunavut's Government of Canada building in Iqaluit, which comes complete with an illuminated igloo entrance, Clark led the team in constructing the stunning, curvaceous red, two-storey building.

"That building was like a dream come true, the project manager knew just how to get the best out of his consultants and work with the client," he said, adding that being located across the street from the Legislative Assembly meant always being sensitive to form.

"We didn't want to do anything that would detract from the Legislature and by incorporating people's suggestions we managed to bring everything together."

Big project work means constant pressure and Clark says as a consequence he has become a workaholic, putting in between 70-80 hours a week.

Oddly enough, retirement won't put an end to his career. With plans to return to school at the Ontario College of Art and Design, Clark says he would like to try his hand at industrial design.

Or perhaps finishing the renovations he started on his Toronto home in the mid-1960s.