We recently met with visionary, innovator, humanitarian, avid surfer and Gastown coffee enthusiast, Michael Leckie; Co-Founder / Principal of Michael Leckie Architecture and Design Inc. His open, unconventional approach to creativity while steadily building his firm, has seen this local enterprise triple in size in just two years. Down to earth, with a big smile and a dare to dream outlook, Michael Leckie is a gentleman who rides the wave of possibility, always wondering where the journey will lead.
What do you do and how did you get here?
I’m an architect, although I now understand my role as being a creative entrepreneur. I have a thriving architecture practice that has tripled in size since founding it in 2015. We seek to push the boundaries of traditional architectural practice and constantly look for ways to innovate. Our core values include generosity, empathy, innovation and trust and with these values, we seek to find ways in which we can take our collective skill set and create good in the world.
What do you like about Gastown?
I love Gastown. It’s an amazing place to work. There’s a real energy and a strong sense of creative enterprise happening here. A lot is happening at the level of the storefronts. There are people doing interesting, independent and creative things but a lot of it is happening on the levels above the streets – in the offices and in the various buildings in Gastown. And that’s part of why the Vancouver Design Weekend is great, as it allows these creatives to gain further exposure and to open their doors and welcome people in to see what they’re doing. Oh and I love the great coffee in Gastown!
Gastown is a hive of creatives, innovators, artists and visionaries. Why is that?
I think people with real creative energy, who are working on small-scale enterprise are drawn to the energy of this place. I see it as a positive feedback loop or a momentum /“inertial” draw. When I first opened the studio here, I was amazed. On my way to get coffee, I would meet other small business owners, in our building, in other buildings, on the street and it was an easy, deliberate, intentional choice to engage these individuals in their business pursuits in every aspect of my life. I had my engagement ring made around the corner. I find that the more people I meet and get to know in Gastown, the more I encounter the like-minded, creative spirit that flows through here. What then exists, is a wonderful mutual inspiration that comes from working together.
If there was one wild project you could work on with no boundaries or constraints, what would it be?
It would be Self-Assembled Architecture and we are in the process of creating exactly that. We have a side project called The Back County Hut Company. It’s a flat packed, prefabricated, customizable, scalable prototype that requires very minimal site work and the idea is to empower individuals and communities to be able to self-assemble their own on-grid or off-grid structures. It’s a project that challenges very traditional modes of permitting and construction.
We have been working on it for about a year and a half and we are in the process of building the first couple of prototypes. It’s a little project with a lot of soul that we see as a game changer. Much of the inspirational work that we do exists outside of the traditional client/consultant model. We are a practice that seeks to find opportunities within the context of the city and the cultural context of Western Civilization to bring change and good into the world.
You are participating in the Vancouver Design Weekend and opening the doors to the Leckie Studio. Is it important for you to share what you have with others?
We see it as a real opportunity to welcome people in and get a deeper sense of why and how we work and what we do. It’s an opportunity for anyone to come visit and see inside the workings of our particular version of a creative studio and we look forward to meeting new people.
Michael and his team will open the doors to their creative hive this Sunday to take part in the Vancouver Design Weekend. An opportunity such as this doesn’t come often and like the illumination and wonder that a shooting star brings in its path, Mr. Leckie is one of the brightest of the Gastown cluster.
The Michael Leckie Studio will be hosting an Open House on Sunday May 14th from
1-4pm at 215-309 W Cordova St as part of the Vancouver Design Weekend. All are welcome.