Meet Sarah Lanoue


Q. What defines you the most as a person?

SL "What motivated me to pursue architecture, and what essentially defines my personality, is my desire to help people and take actions that have a positive impact on others, both professionally and personally. Kindness, being sensitive to others and empathy are values that guide me every day. In fact, I seriously considered psychology in my career choices for these very reasons. Ultimately, architecture turned out to be the ideal profession for me, as it allows me to combine my desire to help with my creative/artistic side."

Q. When did you know you wanted to become an architect?

SL "I have always had a fairly developed artistic side and a knack for mathematics, but my initial goal was to help people. At first, I considered psychology, then teaching mathematics, and finally, after some research and following my father's advice, I decided to apply in architecture at University Laval and was accepted. It was a revelation, and I’ve never questioned my choice since then."

Q. Can you tell us more about your educational and professional background?

SL "I completed my bachelor's and master's degrees at Université Laval, in Quebec City, and in my third year of study, I went to Lyon for a semester abroad. The course I chose, Concevoir pour construire, focused on creating projects that were practically achievable. I've also always had a strong interest in ecological, sustainable architecture centered around the human experience. My first work experience was alongside an architect in Bromont who had an ecological practice, and it played a significant role in my professional development. After 5 highly formative years, I came to LemayMichaud and it turned out to be a successful match" - she adds with a laugh.

Q. What is your favorite phase of a project?

SL "I really enjoy the early stages of a project, when we lay the foundations, understand the area in which the project is is to be set, the reality of the neighborhood, the site’s opportunities and its potential. Witnessing the living environment that we envision gradually taking shape, the blank canvas moment, is very exciting in my opinion."

Q. Where do you find your inspiration for each project?

SL "It’s a mix! I believe that travel is really important for experiencing various projects. It’s truly enriching to explore a country, or even our own city, and go to various projects to observe their successes and shortcomings. Then, when starting new projects, it’s easier to be inspired and avoid making certain mistakes. I see it as one of the important starting points for understanding the scale of a project. Additionally, I also use inspiration platforms like Archdaily or Pinterest."

Q. What qualities do you think an architect needs in 2024?

SL "I believe that one of the key skills in architecture is to have a good understanding of space. I'd go so far as to say that it's the basis for being able to work in the field. However, I also think that curiosity plays a significant role in our profession because there are no right or wrong answers in architecture. Each project can have 150 options. Therefore, we must always ask ourselves a thousand of questions to find THE best solution, in our opinion of course, and be able to justify it. It's all about interpretation, a desire to create a universe, and one must be capable of navigating through that."

Q. Is there an architectural movement that you prefer?

SL "I really like brutalism, despite the fact that everyone finds it heavy," she adds with a laugh. "I think it was a fantastically beautiful era, even though it lacked windows and created imposing masses of concrete in cities. I find that the detail, facade treatment, and play of volumes created true works of art each time. Perhaps the human experience wasn't at its peak, but visually, I find it beautiful. It's a movement that I really like and draw inspiration from, but it must be adapted to today's needs to provide quality of life for people."

Q. What is the most significant project you have undertaken at LemayMichaud as an architect?

SL "When I started working at LemayMichaud, I was quickly entrusted with the interior design mandate for Alt+ at DIX30, now called Escad. While I had experience in residential architecture, I had never undertaken such a project. Thus, I found myself on the project, working alongside Louise (Senior Partner and Designer), and that's when my learning curve skyrocketed. Additionally, as the project was already advanced when I joined, I was quickly able to see the outcome of our work. I was proud to have successfully completed such a significant project, given my limited experience in design at that time, and it gave me confidence for the future."

Q. What would you say to someone who wants to become an architect?

SL "I believe that architecture is a profession for the passionate. You have to dive into it wholeheartedly. It's a profession that can sometimes be demanding and stressful, so without that flame, I think it can be challenging. I don't want to discourage anyone, as there are various types of practices in architecture, and I believe everyone can find their niche. However, passion, genuinely loving what you do every day, and having the desire to deliver quality projects are the keys to finding happiness in your work, regardless of the area within the field."

Quick Q&A

Develop or create? Create

Dreamer or realist? Dreamer

What motivates you to get up in the morning? To accomplish, on a daily basis

Favorite part of your job? The early stages of projects

Do you have a philosophy that guides you everyday? Kindness

Black and white or colors? Black and white

Mies van der Rohe or Frank Gehry? Mies van der Rohe

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