Written by Jessica Gomez-Jones
On June 15th, 2023, we had the pleasure of celebrating our 40th anniversary with a group of our clients, staff and industry friends.
The past 40 years have held many opportunities and challenges for our firm, strengthening our relationships, sharpening our skills and pushing our work to the forefront of design and production efficiency by positing intelligent and evocative structures on Western Canadian skylines.
The foundation of this success is truly at the heart of our firm and as founding partner Wade Gibbs put it, “The foundation is the secret to success.” Ours is built on talent, professionalism, ethics, integrity and passion. These values have been the basis of the past 40 years and will continue to shape the way our firm approaches design, development and everything in between.
On March 7th, 1983, “Gibbs Gage Partnership” became a reality—a handful of young architecture professionals with a passion for design and determination to turn their aspirations into reality. In those early days, the firm focused on winning and fostering relationships with new clients. Some of our earliest “big wins” include Calgary’s Olympic Plaza, designed for use in the ‘88 Olympic Games. Our team members still pass by these spaces on their commutes to our current office with a feeling of pride and curiosity at what legacy projects they might be working on in the present day.
Above (L-R): Olympic Plaza, Lake Louise Visitor Centre and Winter Garden at Jamieson Place.
40 years and thousands of projects later (really, we checked the spreadsheet), we are a team of nearly 100 architecture and business professionals all of whom hold this same dedication to making Western Canada a better place, one building at a time.
Having designed projects across all sectors—from hospitals and schools to warehouses and skyscrapers—we’re proud to have built relationships with phenomenal client teams whose visions our team dedicates to bringing to life. Amidst the DB and DD reports, our firm has developed a unique culture whereby we can find human moments of connection even in the most technical meetings.
Growing GGA from two friends to a team of 10 was an incredible accomplishment. We’ve continued on this trajectory, currently standing at over 100 exceptional industry professionals. We’ve welcomed new specializations, training opportunities and internal promotions fostering the careers of our team members through many phases of life. As the years go on and team GGA grows, we do not lose sight of the grounding principles of that foundation. People-first, in both design and company culture. In recent years our team has worked with clients such as the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, Centron Group, Aspen Properties, University Properties Group, Restaurant Brands International and the City of Airdrie and Airdrie Public Library. Each new project we take on is an opportunity to hone our skills—to learn from our clients, community groups and industry colleagues while working towards a world that is optimized toward an inclusive, sustainable, innovative and expressive urban landscape.
Above (Top-Bottom, L-R): Recent project achievements celebrating our 40th anniversary include The Oliver, Tim Hortons Distribution Centre (Langley, BC), Block 23 at University District, Mathison Hall at U of C, the Airdrie Multi-use Facility & Library and the Ampersand.
This past year, we lost our dear friend and Partner, Rick Lewis. Rick started his 35-year architecture career with GGA in 1987, where his passion, expertise and enthusiasm for design quickly led to his partnership role in the firm. As one of the core leaders at GGA, he was not only known for his extensive work in the industrial and retail sectors but for his lightheartedness, kindness and mentorship.
In Rick’s memory, we have launched The Rick Lewis Travel Prize For The Love of Places and Spaces. The award is intended to foster Rick’s love for travel and experiencing amazing places and having a great time along the way. It will be awarded annually to a GGA team member who is selected from the applications received each year. This premier year, we were pleased to award the RLTP to our Communications and Engagement Specialist, Mariah Wilson. More details on her trip itinerary and story will be coming soon to the blog!
Thank you to all who attended and helped us commemorate this significant milestone in our firm’s journey. We look forward to continuing our lifelong commitment to design excellence and bettering our world through the creation of spaces and places that centre the communities they serve.
Below we’ve featured some photos from the event:
Above: Photos from our event hosted at the Winter Garden in Jamieson Place celebrating our 40th Anniversary. Vendors included Visionary Catering and Modern Rentals.