With two offices, one being in Halifax and the other in Toronto, he confessed to enjoying this pause that Covid-19 has brought upon us. Normally he would be hopping on and off planes but with Covid-19 he’s been able to continually work and enjoy his home life in Nova Scotia. Originally from Brampton, ON, he studied at the University of Toronto and when he got wind of the masters program at Dalhousie University he took a leap of faith and moved to our province without knowing anyone or the city. Omar felt the need to leave Toronto, to escape the noise. As we know Toronto is a very busy place and contains so much noise and beyond the cars, streetcars, people and the subway, there is also the noise of pressure and THAT ladies and gentleman can kill creativity in a heartbeat.
- “ I could focus here in Halifax, there was less pressure, less external noise and a lot more room for me to find my style.”
Omar’s creative process starts with going on site with his client and it is there where they go over the clients vision, desires and what is truly important to them. Omar and his team spend time in said area, driving around and keeping an eye out for peculiar qualities that have developed over time with architecture and draws from them.
- “ It’s funny when you look around you can see a pattern. People copy what their neighbors do and it creates a certain look or style by region.”
Another fun part of the creative process is that they make some really rough hand drawings and play with paper and cardboard by folding it and making shapes. He encourages his team to share ideas, to brainstorm, aka to collaborate.
- He says “ what's the point of working with intelligent people if you’re not going to listen to their ideas?”
This work of art is actually located in a place I grew up, Sluice Point, in the Argyle Municipality region of Nova Scotia. The inspiration for this piece was the barges of hay, the marshy grounds and overall the Acadian landscapes.
- “It feels like an extension of the landscape. The idea was if you squint your eyes that it looks like a bump in the landscape till it comes alive at night where it glows.”
I find it looks like a fort and reminds me of the historical site in Port Royal, Nova Scotia. Personally after talking with Omar about this home I feel like it should be called the Acadian Dream
(Ha! I had no intention of copying Cy’s latest music album name but it happened).
The entry hoop is in the orientation of a tall corridor, compressed on the sides. In extreme contrast, as one enters the space, passes through the threshold, and enters the great room, they are presented with a long, low horizontal panorama of the marshy coastline and island dotted ocean view. Until the point of entry, the panoramic view of the landscape is withheld from the visitor as the width of the house conceals the dramatic sight. https://omargandhi.com/work
And if you weren’t already blown away by the photos of his work, in2014, Gandhi won the Canada Council Prix de Rome. Omar is recognized for his excellence here and abroad, in 2016 New York’s prestigious Architectural League named him an Emerging Voice.
This next home that I want to mention is called, Rabbit Snare Gorge, located in Cape Breton, N.S.
Another masterpiece which won him the Governor General's Medal in architecture.
While driving around looking for the weird, peculiar and interesting architectural aspects of a region he noticed that everyone had windbreakers at their front doors.
- “We took this feature and adapted it in a crazy way because then the work itself tells a story about the place. "
The landscape of Rabbit Snare Gorge is defined by the steep slopes of the Cape Breton Highlands, a dense woodlands with patches of Acadian hardwood, deep gorges cut by a babbling brook, and the rocky cliffs of the Northumberland Strait. The location allows for a long wide view of the entire property including the majority of the gorge leading towards the ocean.
He blends oh so effortlessly a contemporary architectural style with rural vernacular influences and what I love most about his designs, the cherry on top is that there’s a sensitivity to the natural landscape of Canada’s Atlantic coast.
Take a minute and check out his website! https://omargandhi.com
There you will find more beautiful photos of his work and one of them is actually a restaurant, Lady Marmalade that has been a staple in Toronto’s brunch scene since 2009 and for good reason, I’m definitely a big fan. And if you follow his instagram account https://www.instagram.com/og_architect/?hl=en, you will find some sneak peeks and information about his next unveiling. Hint Hint..there’s a big one coming up!
Clearly OG is innovative like Tony Stark but unlike him Omar is incredibly humble which makes all the difference in the world and why I think that all of his success to date is just the beginning of his wildest and maybe not thought of dreams.