Eladia Smoke: Building Indigenous Architecture  

Small Business Canada

Eladia Smoke’s father was a builder. However, he always felt dejected by the poor quality of housing materials and designs and the lack of budgets. On one of these journeys with her father to the North, Eladia realized that she wanted to become an architect. 

Today, Eladia Smoke is the Principal Architect at Smoke Architecture. 

Bringing Indigenous Perspective

Eladia Smoke is Anishinaabekwe from Obishikokaang, the Lac Seul First Nation, with family roots in Alderville First Nation, Winnipeg, and Toronto. She has worked in architecture since 2002 and founded Smoke Architecture as the principal architect in 2014. 

She is a Master Lecturer at Laurentian University’s McEwen School of Architecture, a principal architect with Architecture 49 in Thunder Bay and a Winnipeg architect with Prairie Architects. 

In her role as Master Lecturer at MSoA, she strives to incorporate architectural learning from an Indigenous standpoint. Eladia is passionate about bringing Indigenous principles, particularly the teachings of the Anishinaabe, into the realm of architectural curriculum and design thinking.

She enables her students to work directly with the land and the First Nation communities collaboratively and respectfully. Her method of teaching calls on traditional values and principles within contemporary contexts.

Eladia has served on the RAIC’s Indigenous Task Force since its inception in 2015 and is on the unceded international team of Indigenous designers and architects. 

She works with First Nation clients and focuses on community centers, offices, and multi-family residential projects. Her past professional projects include the Aboriginal People’s Television Network studios, Migiizi Agamik Aboriginal Student Centre at the University of Manitoba and Makoonsag Intergenerational Learning Centre, completed in Winnipeg with Prairie Architects.

From 2011–14, Eladia served as a committee and council member of the Manitoba Association of Architects and as a board member of the Urban Shaman Gallery of Contemporary Aboriginal Art 2010–2014. In addition, she participated in the first all-Aboriginal showcase of architecture in 2014. 

Eladia is respectable of all Elders and knowledge carriers who have generously and conscientiously shared land-based teachings and never miss a chance to listen to the older generation. Eladia believes that each generation learns from the others.

Complete Architectural Services

Smoke Architecture is Anishinaabeg owned and operated. Since being established in 2014, they have provided complete architectural services, focusing on First Nation and Indigenous projects. Their clients are guided by Elders and community leaders who hold millennia of expertise on how and what to build in their traditional territories. 

They ensure their design process is guided by and responsible to their clients as they rediscover Indigenous knowledge in contemporary contexts. Each project they undertake follows the process of land-based learning by using engagement tools, design techniques, and building systems crafted specifically for each community and each place.

They understand the challenges of tight budgets and timelines while working with funding agencies in remote locations and northern climates. Hence, they are ready and experienced to undertake projects to their successful completion in a way that honors distinct Indigenous identities at every step.

They provide complete architectural services, including conceptual design, feasibility studies, land-use plans, assessment reports, community engagement, RFP and tender support, and construction supervision. 

In addition, they have robust relationships with consultants familiar with First Nation and Indigenous design, who offer landscape architecture and engineering specialties, including civil, structural, mechanical, and electrical consulting. 

As Eladia Smoke works as the principal and founder of Smoke Architecture, she is hopeful the worst of architectural times are in the past, not only for residents of the North but for Canada as a whole.

Smoke Architecture is one of the few Indigenous-owned architecture firms in the country. As its head, Eladia Smoke is an emerging visionary in her field, the architect behind expansive, light-filled public buildings that connect with the natural environment. 

In 2021, Smoke Architecture and Moriyama & Teshima Architects were jointly selected to design the Mukwa Waakaa’igan Indigenous Centre for Cultural Excellence at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. 

Eladia Smoke reintroduces Indigenous perspectives into the built environment and brings people together in their environments. For more information about her works, visit their website at https://www.smokearchitecture.com/

Indigenous people are normalizing the aboriginal way of doing things in all areas of business. To read more about these topics, subscribe to Indigenous SME Business Magazine and for the latest updates, check our Twitter page @IndigenousSme

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts
Privacy Preferences
When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in form of cookies. Here you can change your privacy preferences. Please note that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we offer.