Douglas Cardinal

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Douglas Cardinal
Born (1934-03-07) 7 March 1934 (age 83)
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Alma mater University of British Columbia; University of Texas at Austin,
Occupation Architect
Projects National Museum of the American Indian; Grande Prairie Regional College; Canadian Museum of History;

Douglas Joseph Cardinal, OC (born 7 March 1934) is a Canadian architect based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Famous for flowing architecture marked with smooth lines and influenced by his Aboriginal heritage as well as European Expressionist architecture,[1][2] Cardinal is perhaps best known for his designs of the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec (1989) and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. (1998).


Born of Métis Blackfoot/Kainai, German and Algonquin heritage, Cardinal grew up in Calgary, Alberta.

In 1953, he attended the University of British Columbia; he later attended the University of Texas at Austin, from which he graduated with a degree in Architecture in 1963.


Cardinal was one of the first North American architects to use computers to assist in the design process. His curvilinear designs reflect the landscape around them, so that people making use of the building can retain a sense of the land that surrounds them.

Canadian Museum of History

In 1993, he was hired by The Smithsonian Institution as the Primary Design Architect for the National Museum of the American Indian, or NMAI. The NMAI is situated on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and directly faces the Capital of the United States of America. After contractual disputes, Cardinal was removed from the project in 1998 before it was completed, but he continued to provide input into the building's design.

In 2001, Cardinal received a Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts in recognition of his contribution to Canadian and international architecture.[2]

In 2008, his firm was hired by the Kirkland Foundation to design a museum/convention center in Union City, Tenn. The Discovery Park of America was to be a unique structure housing a multi level museum with artifacts from across the nation as well as provide a place for large conventions/meetings for the community. Early in 2009 the firm's contract was terminated with the owner, and all construction activity was halted, due to undisclosed differences between the two parties.


Among the many projects Cardinal has completed in his career are the following:[3]


  1. ^ Douglas Cardinal, The Canadian Encyclopedia
  2. ^ a b Douglas Cardinal, The Canada Council for the Arts
  3. ^ Doyle, Richard I. (2001). Renaissance II: Canadian creativity and innovation in the new millennium. Intercept Ltd. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-660-18397-8. 
  4. ^ a b c d Pound, Richard W. (2005). 'Fitzhenry and Whiteside Book of Canadian Facts and Dates'. Fitzhenry and Whiteside. 

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