The Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) has named John K. Stephenson, OAA, MRAIC, its new president for 2017. In this role, Stephenson is committed to building a strong profession that is empowered to serve the public interest through excellence in design and professional practice.
“[The] key to achieving this goal is recognizing that effective project and risk management is central to the architect’s role today,” he said in a press release.
Stephenson studied at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Architecture before relocating to Thunder Bay in 1980. In 1986, he started his practice as Kuch Stephenson Architects, which became Kuch Stephenson Gibson Malo Architects & Engineer, both of which are predecessors to his current firm. Stephenson is a founding partner of FORM Architecture Engineering, the largest entirely local architectural practice in Northwestern Ontario. His extensive experience with publicly funded institutional projects has given him the ability to manage the process of design decision making and approvals by a wide range of public and regulatory agencies.
Stephenson joined the OAA Council in 2013. He first served a term in the early 1990s and continued to volunteer with the Association. Since then, he has participated on several committees and served as Senior Vice President and Treasurer for the past two years. During that time, he took part in various new initiatives, many of which continue today, including the review of the path to licensure for interns; the OAA Headquarters Renew + Refresh project; re-imagining the OAA Honours and Awards program; a new media content creation and communication strategy; and the modernization of OAA governance addressing inclusivity as well as reflecting the diversity of the architectural profession.
Stephenson is passionate about continued OAA advocacy and engagement on issues of public interest where the contribution of architects can help make communities a better place for people. Going forward, the OAA will continue to talk about climate change and the benefits of low carbon building design, effective procurement of public buildings, housing affordability, while it starts a new conversation about First Nations community building, among other issues.