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Victor Kolynchuk

Practice Leader, Education


I enjoy working on educational projects for First Nations and remote access communities.

Fortunately for me, my interests and expertise are aligning with the need for providing these facilities across Canada. The biggest challenge with any level of expertise is complacency, relying on current levels of knowledge or expertise which can become outdated. We always have to find new ways to learn from each other and grow personally and professionally to serve our clients and the profession better.

The best advice I received was from an architect I worked for who studied under Gropius at Harvard who asked him “What’s the least you can do?”

Importantly, it is a question and not an answer. It is not about cutting things back for the sake of doing so. As part of the design process, it helps to ask what is essential to clarify the project concept together and align details with an overall direction to make things stronger. It is probably the most important thing I can say to team members. Simple to remember words of wisdom are best.

What was the last book I enjoyed?

Some of my favourite authors, V.S. Naupul, Joseph Conrad, Umberto Eco and Orhan Pamuk, transport me to other worlds. Interestingly Pamuk was trained as an architect but is now a famous author in his home country, Turkey. I just purchased a copy of Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry, set in Mexico, which I have always wanted to read and am looking forward to bringing on my next vacation.

I am very interested in multiculturalism.

I volunteer with Architects Without Borders Canada located here in Winnipeg to assist groups in third world countries initiate projects, usually education related, to help their communities. We work with design students on this as well so it is a good opportunity for mentoring as well. This is one thing that people are sometimes surprised to learn about me.

Out of WSP’s five corporate values, ‘Trustworthy’ is the one I identify with the most.

Trust is important for me and my clients, many of which are from remote communities. I work hard to build and develop trust well before a proposal comes out whenever possible. I believe in what I call a functional network that includes contractors, suppliers, maintainers, funding agencies and clients where all parties know of each other and respect the contribution that each party brings to the service community.