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Student Career Resource

An Exploration Of Architecture In Saint John With Acre Architects

Stephen Knopp Monica Adair ACRE

Have you ever looked at a building, been impressed by its beauty, and wondered “who designed this?”. Well, today we would like to introduce you to two people who are behind some of these amazing creations.

Stephen Kopp and Monica Adair are Architects with ACRE ARCHITECTS. Stephen shared his thoughts with us on the world of Architecture and creativity.

Acre Architects
The Beachcombers in Lorneville; Photographer Julian Parkinson

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself & ACRE Architect?

I grew up in the prairies of Southern Manitoba. I learned how to appreciate nature, hard work and open spaces; all things that have come to benefit my life here in Southern New Brunswick. I eventually attended the University of Manitoba, did some studying in Germany and then the University of Toronto, where I ended up meeting my partner Monica Adair.

The idea for “The Acre” started on a rooftop in Brooklyn, New York, where a group of artists, writers, thinkers and designers realized that – working together – we could contribute more significantly than any one of us working alone. Conceived as a fresh and flexible way to tackle projects and ideas, this collective brings together the right team for the right project.

Juul Labs-the acre is from Envenio Head Quarters
Photographer Julian Parkinson

We now call Saint John, New Brunswick our home – a transitioning, architecturally-fascinating Atlantic Canada city from where we can grow our business both domestically and internationally. We want to create transformational change in whatever we do.

Picaroons General Store; Photographer Mark Hemmings

The Acre builds its practice of Storied Architecture centred on the importance of inspiring peoples’ stories, developing our own identities, and encouraging our clients to believe they can live better. Through exploring the power of the stories associated with heritage and a sense of place, our built environments grow to convey strong and deep-felt emotions that are key to the structure that form our lives.

Acre Architects have been involved in projects that emphasize craftsmanship, functionality, local tradition, and artistic expression. As we shape our cultural heritage, it is vital that we do so with purpose, for ultimately – we are what we create. In 2019, we also became a Carbon Neutral company. Something that we are really proud of. 

What educational path is most appropriate for someone wishing to pursue a career similar to yours?

There definitely isn’t one prescriptive path. Most people that are successful in this field have an underlying passion for solving problems. How you get to that solution is based on many background experiences, training and creativity. So naturally a diverse background helps.

The traditional path is to develop skills both in math and in art and that is still a great path. However, you can also approach the profession through a background in building, environmental engineering and systems, from a social benefit point of view. The main point is that creativity is the backbone of what you are doing and of your approach to whatever you are doing [maybe with the exception of accounting!].

Envenio Inc. headquarters in Fredericton; Photographer Julian Parkinson

At some point you will need to get a Masters of Architecture degree, but the more varied and experienced your path to get there, the better.

What personal characteristics increase someone’s likelihood of success as an Architect?

Architecture is a demanding and multi-faceted profession. You have to know a little [or a lot] about everything, as you will be designing for the public. So, hard work is number one. If you don’t like giving it your all when you work, then it’s not for you. The ability to see the big picture is key to solving problems and this is true for architecture. Detail is important and necessary, but to be successful, listening to, and then analyzing the challenge will allow you to create an innovative solution on a project.

Being able to communicate with others also cannot be underestimated. This is a field of collaboration and this will become heightened in an ever-changing world as we move forward!

Leave us with a fun fact about your occupation!

Architecture was once an Olympic Sport [as were music, painting, sculpture, literature]!

Stephen Kopp, AANB, NSAA, RAIC
87 Canterbury Street, Suite 301
Saint John, New Brunswick E2L 2C7

+1 506 658 9679

2018 Professional Prix de Rome in Architecture