Omar is a Canadian architect born in Toronto, raised in Brampton, Ontario and currently practices and resides in both Halifax, Nova Scotia and Toronto.
After studying in the Regional Arts program at Mayfield Secondary School (Caledon) and then the inaugural Architectural Studies Program at the University of Toronto he moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia where he received his Master’s degree in 2005 at Dalhousie University. After graduation Omar worked for Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects, Young + Wright Architects and most recently for MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects in Halifax and worked on several key projects including Manitoba Hydro, Two Hulls, the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University and the Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum- Nano Centre at the University of Waterloo. Gandhi started his own design studio in 2010 and became a registered architectural practice in 2012. Omar is currently also a sessional instructor at the School of Architecture and Planning at Dalhousie University.
Omar is the recipient of the 2014 Canada Council for the Arts Professional Prix de Rome and was listed in Wallpaper* Magazine’s 2014 Architects Directory – their list of the top 20 Young Architects in the World. Most recently, Omar was named one of the Architectural League of New York’s ‘Emerging Voices’ of 2016 and one of Monocle Magazine’s 20 most influential Canadians.
Born and raised in Halifax Nova Scotia, Jeff learned carpentry and construction at an early age while working closely with his grandfather. It was during this time that Jeff decided on architecture as his career path and enrolled at Dalhousie University immediately after graduating high school. In architecture school Jeff spent a work term employed at Measured Architecture in Vancouver, British Columbia. Jeff was awarded the SSEF steel scholarship for excellence in steel structure design as part of his thesis work. After graduating with his Masters in Architecture he spent some time working as a designer for a local design-build company, MRB Contracting. Shortly after, Jeff returned to Omar Gandhi Architect where he had previously spent a co-op work term. Jeff immediately became a Project Architect responsible for overseeing several projects including the Fyren, Float and the Sluice Point Residence.
Stephanie is a Toronto-based architect, born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia. After spending a summer studying fine arts at the Parsons School of Design in New York City and two years at the University of British Columbia studying science and fine arts, Stephanie returned to the East Coast to pursue architecture at Dalhousie University. Graduating with her Master of Architecture in 2010, Stephanie was awarded Brian MacKay-Lyons’ Ghost Lab 13 scholarship, and the AIA Henry Adams Certificate for ranking second in her graduating class. Stephanie moved to Toronto in 2011 to join KPMB Architects. She worked on several large-scale commercial and institutional projects including the Bay Adelaide Centre East Tower and the Adams Center for Musical Arts at Yale University. Stephanie is a founding member and part of the executive committee of Building Equality in Architecture Toronto, an independent organization dedicated to the promotion of equality in the profession of architecture.
Lauren was born and raised in London, Ontario. During her teenage years she watched closely as her father built the family cottage. His work began inside of a warehouse where he would first work out design flaws before continuing on site at Lake Huron. It was through witnessing this full-scale design and problem solving process that she decided to become an Architect. Lauren was enrolled in the Urban Planning program for two years at Dalhousie University before going into Architecture. While in school, Lauren worked in both London, UK and in Toronto, ON working on various small renovations to mid-scale, high-density infill residential projects. Upon completion of her thesis and Master of Architecture, she was awarded the RAIC Student Medal for achieving the highest level of academic excellence.
John Gray Thomson
John Gray was raised in Oakville, Ontario and now resides in Toronto. He recently graduated from the B.Arch program at Cornell University where his fascinations with light, shadow, and spatial perception fueled many academic and personal projects. These interests undoubtedly stem from his father’s career as a lighting designer for stage productions. John Gray grew up watching his father’s work play out in the theater and has always felt inspired and encouraged to enter the world of design himself. Moving forward, John Gray hopes to develop concepts into fantastic projects, to further his own exploration with materials, and to continue questioning the world around him.
Kristi is an Ontario native now calling the Maritimes home. Growing up, her love for fashion and design was paralleled by her zeal for sport. Athletics lead Kristi to the United States, where she earned her Marketing degree with honours while competing at the NCAA ‘Division 1’ level. Returning to home soil following graduation, Kristi worked for Salomon, a global leader in sporting goods innovation. Her involvement within the brand’s Retail Marketing team nurtured her admiration for inspired, experiential retail, eventually guiding Kristi to the East Coast to co-found a Fashion concept store in downtown Halifax. As Director of Business Development, Kristi brings her marketing prowess, communications experience, and organizational aptitude to the Omar Gandhi Architect team.
Karl was raised in Dieppe, New Brunswick, and currently resides in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from NSCAD University before pursuing an education in architecture, and remains active in the arts community to this day. Karl’s other passions now include practicing and competing in judo, as well as travel. After spending his first co-op work term at an architecture firm in Copenhagen, Denmark, Karl is excited to join the team at OG for his second co-op experience. He is currently completing his Master of Architecture at Dalhousie University.
Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Karen Ng-Hem is a Registered Graphic Designer and long-time friend to the OG studio. She graduated from the first and largest joint program in Ontario offered through York University’s Department of Design and Sheridan College, earning a Bachelor of Design Honours degree. She and Omar previously worked together at Young + Wright Architects in Toronto, where she exercised her talent in proposal design and card making. Years later, Karen continues her contribution to developing the OG brand while changing the face of print as the Creative Director at Astley Gilbert Limited. Design is not just her profession – it’s her passion! Her work in architecture, interior design and industrial design informs her instinctive use of colour, white space and clean lines.
Ray Imai was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. He left the city to attend the School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo in 1972. During his second year in the program, Ray decided to move on from architecture, enrolling and graduating from Waterloo’s Integrated Studies Program. Following graduation, Ray’s desire to live by the ocean single-handedly led him to settle on the East coast of Canada. He resided just outside of Halifax in the small fishing village of Ketch Harbour for over 20 years. During that period of time, Ray worked as an instructor of Media Studies at Dalhousie University, media studies at Mount St Vincent University and started his own business. Over the years that followed, Ray developed his career in computer consulting with a focus on accounting. He graduated from St Mary’s University with an EMBA and later earned his CMA designation while working full time as an accountant in a variety of industries. Before shifting his focus to high-level corporate accounting within the Biotech sector, he met and worked with a then recent graduate Omar Gandhi. Many years passed and the two remained friends, fortuitously reconnecting to work together once again in 2016.
Born on Cape Breton Island and raised across Canada, David brings nearly 30 years of experience in technical design and building science to the OG team. An Honours graduate of Calgary’s SAIT Polytechnic, David has been involved in projects ranging from minor residential renovations to multi-million dollar healthcare installations and high-rise residential developments in various locations across Nova Scotia, Western Canada, California, Mexico and Costa Rica. Working closely with Omar Gandhi since 2011, David brings the unique talent of harmonizing design concepts and technical realities, and conveying them in a feasible, workable set of Production Documents. He also has a strong ability to coordinate a team of Consultants and manage the needs of the team members. David is proud to have been a team member on projects such as Float, Fyren, Harbour Heights, St. Rose and Broad Cove Banks Residences as well as numerous Cabot Links projects.
Born and raised in Bermuda, Jamal attended Acadia University in Nova Scotia. Although interested in the sciences, Jamal saw great opportunities in computer technology. While in Bermuda, Jamal worked as the manager on several large projects including at the Bermuda Monetary Authority and the Rosewood Tucker’s Point Resort. After moving back to Canada in 2009, he worked as a consultant for global engineering firm WSP Canada (formerly Genivar) and global financial firm J.P. Morgan Stanley. In 2014, Jamal decided to forge out on his own and begin a consulting firm. Omar Gandhi Architect Inc. was Jamal’s first client and the relationship continues to this day.
Since the firm’s inception in 2010, a group of highly-skilled and talented collaborators have contributed to the quality of work and the spirit of the studio:
Ryan Beecroft, Peter Braithwaite, Maxwell Schnutgen, Hayley Johnson, Devin Harper, Elizabeth Powell, Ozana Gherman, Michael Cook, Peter Kolodziej, Amber Kilborn and Andre Kott.
OG, JS, KS portraits by Riley Smith