Architecture With Soul

When we say that no two Kariouk projects are the same, we mean it. Because no two people are the same, just like the needs of different families are never the same. We’ve built our practice for the last 20 years based on that theory. We wanted to take this opportunity to explore, and further explain the meaning behind our tagline, “Architecture With Soul”, and why this design philosophy has led us to create and design some of the most beautifully unique projects in the world.

A project by Kariouk Architects begins with the slow exploration of our client’s individual hopes, dreams and desires. The “soul” of a project does not arrive with grand gestures, hefty budgets, and never quickly – because as they say, anything worth having is worth waiting for. The soul emerges from a client’s sincere self-reflection regarding their true values in contrast to things of transient value. Furthermore, self-reflection comes from true patience and a large dose of consideration for life’s endless banalities.


Imagine Every Possibility

We know that architecture strives to be artful, but the demands upon architecture are infinitely more complex than just to provide aesthetic pleasure. A work of the exterior architecture may have sculptural finesse, but above all else, architecture should be the creation of an interior vessel nurturing everyday lives, and only when it starts to do that does the soul of the home start to emerge.

An architectural home provides a choreography for the relationships between family members, but of course, these are ever-evolving and change over time. Our architecture is crafted with the mandate to imagine all of life’s possible changes. How does a couple with young children spatially address the need for a toddler’s surveillance but then the need for distancing as children grow into teenagers?

North Americans move on average every seven years where they live in a sequence of tract housing, each design targeting only one phase of life. It seems sad (and environmentally wasteful) that every seven years, as a culture, we shed our homes like disposable clothing.

Kariouk projects evolve through design iteration upon iteration in extremely close dialogue with our clients, whereby together we brainstorm as many future-life situations as we can conceive. Over 90% of our dialogue focuses upon the hardly-noticed aspects of life, quirky habits, and the elusive question: what in your architecture would bring you joy? The answers we hear from clients are all as different as we are.

Soulfulness Takes Root

In our Hill-Maheux home, a sensuous walk-in shower includes a big window overlooking the lush forest allowing morning light, and a living/dining/terrace are conceived as one big space where an evening drink can be paired with the sunset. Soulfulness takes root through the architectural resolution of all of these seemingly infinite banalities, which in fact are the celebration of real life. Like a soul, our work is deeply individualized, which explains why each project is uniquely different.

Slovene Architect, Josef Plecnik stated, “Do not give me great things; give me small things, these I will make great.” Kariouk Architects lives and breathes this sentiment.

Kariouk Architects Hill Maheux project exterior shot dusk