MODERN OFFICE OF DESIGN + ARCHITECTURE | MoDA |

 

We’re small and do big things. Modern Office of Design + Architecture | MoDA | was founded in 2013 by partners Dustin Couzens and Ben Klumper. Both Principals are actively involved with the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Calgary in the capacity of both Critic and Sessional Instructor. | MoDA | functions as a critical Architectural and Interior Design studio interested in working at a multitude of scales and contexts. Central to both our conceptual and built work are themes defining the role of the public realm within the urban fabric, the fundamental relationship between social/cultural ideologies and emergent form, the quantitative and qualitative implications of context or site and the nuance of materiality and tectonics. As evidenced in our body of work, there’s no project too big or too small. Whether we’re designing an interior, a single-family residence or a large public project such as a library our process is the same. We design collaborations rather than dictate solutions.

The ‘means’ are just as important as the ‘end.’ We firmly believe that architecture is only as good as the means by which it is delivered. That’s why we are intimately involved in every project, from the initial handshake and napkin sketch, through to cutting the ribbon. We control the process of project delivery through a rigorous set of standards that ensure quality, budget and schedule are maintained. We are in constant communication to ensure that expectations are being met and hopefully exceeded.

Limitation drives Innovation. We view architecture as a discipline of creative problem solving. Every project has, inherent to its inception, a vast array of limitations/constraints that need not only to be overcome, but also explored for their hidden potential. Often these limitations take on the form of restrictive site or climatic conditions, by-law/code covenants, or budget/time constraints, all of which (when evaluated intelligently) can produce some of the most awe-inspiring design and architecture. We love the potential of the banal.

Architecture builds the City. If it can be deemed true that ‘Architecture builds the City, the City builds a sense of place, a sense of place builds a community and a community builds an identity,’ then | MoDA | endeavors to lead the way, providing a fresh perspective on how this can be done. It’s time for architecture to do things again and not just represent things.

 

Principals

 

Ben Klumper

An honours graduate of the Master of Architecture program at the University of Calgary in 2001 and recipient of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada medal, Ben is a Principal and founding partner of MoDA and currently sits on the Council of the Alberta Association of Architects. Ben was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and spent his first 24 years there, receiving a Bachelor degree in Architecture in 1993. Ben moved to Calgary in 1997 to further his studies in architecture, which included a term abroad in Barcelona, Spain and Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Ben brings over 20 years of experience to the firm, including 11 years as an associate and director of the architecture studio at McKinley Burkart where he was project architect for many high profile and award-winning works such as the M-Tech Building, Alloy Restaurant and Westmount Court. His consistent meshing of strong design sensibility, attention to detail and technical construction knowledge results in the efficient realization of creative architecture.

Outside of architecture, Ben’s interests lie in restoring his vintage Volkswagen Westfalia and playing with fellow MoDA partner Dustin Couzens in their music project, My Friend Deceiver. Ben has also been a sessional instructor at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design where he ran the architecture program’s Comprehensive Studio Four for two years and is a sought after guest critic and mentor for intern architects.

Dustin Couzens

An honours graduate of the Master of Architecture program at the University of Calgary in 2004 and recipient of the AAA award for best thesis, Dustin is a Principal and founding partner of MoDA. Following graduation Dustin moved to Vienna Austria, where he worked for the internationally renowned firm Coop-Himmelblau. After returning from overseas he worked for Mckinley Burkart in Calgary, specializing in residential design. His internship was concluded by working in the Vancouver office of IBI Group.

Together, these experiences exposed Dustin to many different design philosophies and working environments which ultimately helped foster the desire to take the best of these experiences and form a Modern Office of Design and Architecture; MoDA.

Aside from architecture, Dustin is also passionate about music and is currently involved in a music project known as My Friend Deceiver. Film, fashion and art are also keen interests and areas he dabbles in from time to time. Known to most friends and colleagues as the ‘eccentric’ creative type, Dustin also brings his experience and knowledge from his undergraduate degree in Commerce into practice, and understands the fine balance between art and finance.

Dustin is also involved with the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary, in both the capacity of a critic as well as a sessional instructor. His passion for design is seen both in the time he commits to his students, and the rigor with which he pushes everyone around him to achieve their true potential.