Margolese National Design for Living Prize

My proposal to the Margolese National Design for Living goes to my friend and business partner Andy Thomson!

For those who don’t know him, he is the principal and founder of Thomson Architecture, Inc. A graduate of UBC’s School of Architecture in 2003, Andy’s 25 yrs of experience in Germany, the US, and Canada in the field of green design & construction combined with his love of nature, informs the work he does today. Having studied at the Institute for Building Economics in Stuttgart, Germany (Bauökonomie) in 1995, Andy has considered ecology and economy in relationship ever since.

To that end, he has undertaken decades of research, education/lectures, and advocacy on ecological, prefabricated, and compact design and construction, culminating in innovative, best-in-class construction detailing and performance modeling, doubling performance and halving construction costs. Andy feels the solution to affordable housing starts with affordable buildings.

The solution to affordable housing starts with affordable buildings…

Andy Thomson

As a pioneer in tiny and affordable housing and ephemeral, minimal design in the spirit of Buckminster Fuller, Andy has relentlessly pursued advancing the art and science of architecture His early net-zero/Passivhaus designs focused on resilient, zero-carbon strategies, decentralized infrastructure and design for disassembly (1996), resulting in his later prefabricated, off-grid “minihome” designs (2004). Popularized by Oprah Winfrey’s support this propagated an entire tiny home movement and push for Accessory Dwelling Unit by-laws across North America.

As an internationally recognized expert-level user and trainer of BIM software, Andy has traveled widely teaching and transitioning small and large architectural firms to the 3D visualization and modeling tools that the industry is only now, 20 years later, begun to adopt as a standard practice. Committed to Equity and Indigenous Stewardship of Resources, Andy maintains a series of widely read blogs on topics such as Equity and Finance, Higher Performance and Affordable Design, Embodied Carbon, the Profession of Architecture, Air Quality, and Best Practices in Digital Design. 

Andy has designed and built a series of prototype buildings for affordable housing for extreme climates in remote communities using unskilled labour (2010) and has volunteered extensively to further the sustainability goals of organizations such as the OAA, where he has served on several committees, councillor and VP (Strategic). Andy’s work has been published widely and his ideas and work has been presented to the public his work on radio shows from HGTV’s Small Space Big Style to CBC’s The Nature of Things, Quirks and Quarks, Spark and Sounds Like Canada. 

What others say about Andy:

Like all other architectural visionaries of modern times, Mr. Thomson foresees not merely a radical building type, but also a new kind of human being to fit the built prototype. It may well be that the long-suffering environment will eventually turn on us in some catastrophic fashion — if global warming is not already such a calamity — forcing our conversion from wasteful people into more mindful folk. Should this apocalypse come upon us — or, better still, well before it actually happens — we should be listening to what designers such as Andy Thomson are telling us, and to what they have learned.

John Bentley Mays, The Globe and Mail

Andy is a rock star, he works for two firms in Canada as well as his own. Andy’s passion is about design and how to implement BIM in large firms/large projects. To this end, he has put up a website to help the community to implement BIM on large projects. He is a terrific speaker with lots of big projects completed and I think he will be an excellent keynote speaker for the Nottingham Event.

Dominic Gallello, Former CEO of Graphisoft, Autodesk

I really hope he can get the prize so we can continue our research and work on sustainable living, zero-net carbon and pursue other technologies that help clients and the general public to understand better the positive impact of simple architectural actions while making their energy consumption lower and their lives easier!

Best of luck Andy!