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LOLA Architecture enjoys steady growth in first five years

David Parker, The Calgary Herald

Many companies like to celebrate big anniversaries as a way of thanking staff and clients for their successes over the years. Firms that have enjoyed 25, 50 or more years warrant applause for managing the ups and downs of just doing business during periods that have been tough at times.

They’ve all had experiences of caution and nervousness, particularly through early years, and that’s why those early years are also ideal times for giving thanks. And that’s why Erica Lowe and Maria Landry, co-founders and principals of LOLA Architecture, are so excited to be able to share that their first five years in business together have exceeded their wildest dreams.

Both registered architects, they met during several years of working at GEC Architecture but lost touch for a while when Lowe left on maternity leave. Landry also took time off to become a new parent, but they were soon back in touch sharing motherhood and a desire to change “normal office hours.” They discussed how going out on their own would allow them to arrange working hours to satisfy adjustments in home life.

LOLA was launched in Lowe’s home basement; they had to get clients and learn how to run their own business. They credit GEC for its mentorship in not only providing interesting design experiences, but in also sharing how to work with its clients. They had to quickly become managers, facilitators, communicators, co-ordinators, collaborators and marketers.

Lowe admits that the first job they had was for a relative who had been asking her to help with his dream of building on a piece of land he owned in Courtenay on Vancouver Island. The result was a five-storey condominium above The Whistle Stop Pub.

The opportunity enabled the two experienced architects to work together and the relationship has blossomed into a firm that in just five years has grown to a staff of 20.