An architect by design
As a young man with a keen interest in design and a desire to become an architect, Marvin DeJong began his career by taking the architectural technician course at SAIT Polytechnic.
It was a good grounding but he was frustrated to then learn that, back in the 1980s, he was not able to get credit to apply to Canadian universities.
Undeterred, he applied to universities in the Northwestern U.S. and chose the University of Idaho in Moscow. He says it turned out to be a good choice as not only was the teaching fine but a small college town was a great place to live, and it was easy to get home to summer jobs in Calgary.
After graduation, DeJong worked for Peter Burgener, who remains a mentor, but then chose to join Richard Lindseth Architecture for four years — two local architectural firms where he gained wonderful experience.
In 1996, DeJong made the big decision to launch his own firm — DeJong Design Associates — and hasn’t looked back, having built a solid reputation as a designer of dynamic, wellappointed inner-city and recreational properties.
Like many small design firms, his began in the basement of his home but in challenging himself to provide the best designs he soon grew and he now has a thriving architectural office in Currie Barracks with a staff of 10.
The majority of DeJong’s work is still with high-end private residences that can take three months of weekly meetings with owners who each require different flavours; a good example are the three adjoining homes for Empire Custom Homes being built along Sifton Boulevard S.W., roughly the same size but very different in look.
And a number of his projects have been built out of town although mainly for Calgary clients.
Having pleased customers with Calgary residences, he has been privileged to also design their vacation homes in places like Sylvan Lake, Vernon and Invermere. I admit to being just a little bit jealous of the magnificent home being built for a Calgary family in the Uplands area of Maui. What a house and what a view.
Satisfied clients return for new locations, additions or renovations to their homes, and thankfully refer DeJong to others. But as well as designing one-of-a kind dream homes, he has also launched Prairie Drawing Room to attract a different market of buyers.
Prairie Drawing Room has a selection of pre-packaged designs — same idea as those in the old Eaton’s catalogues — for various sized lots and either single family or duplex designs.
They are being sold to individuals or to smaller inner-city developers; three will be built in Marda Loop on the site of the Serbian church with the same interior plans but exteriors representing contemporary, manor and arts and crafts styles.
In the next part of his journey, DeJong plans to lead his staff into designing small commercial projects No new is bad news. I was one of the thousands of Albertans who thoroughly enjoyed the experience of watching last year’s inaugural Tour of Alberta professional cycling road race. But will it happen this year?
Tough to get a positive answer, although I understand that the government has agreed to help fund again — but much reduced. We are surely leaving it a tad late to find other sponsors, sort out the route which surely must show off our mountains, and persuade the athletes to ride here. Cyclists already know their schedules.
A great pity if there is no race in 2014. Travel Alberta understands the importance of showing off the awesome scenery we are blessed with, and benefits went far beyond the immediate economic impact of the race as it was mentioned many times over by broadcasters of the big European races.
It’s good to see cranes, they mean construction is happening. But noticing the crane has gone from the top of the west tower of Eight Avenue Place is also exciting — it means tenants are that much closer to moving in. They must be pretty excited about a new home in September.
Marvin DeJong of DeJong Design Associates is a designer of homes and recreational properties.