Evelyne Bouchard

How do I become an architect? Can I design more energy efficient homes? How do I learn to create Passive House homes? Evelyne Bouchard answers these questions and more...

Growing up in rural Quebec, Evelyne had never met an architect until her first day of classes at the McGill University School of Architecture. At first, the intensity of the design courses was intimidating, but the diverse range of subjects was fascinating: architectural history, the physical properties of materials, visual communication, notions of space and scale… A single project could touch on all of these topics and more.

After completing her Bachelor's degree, Evelyne moved to London, England, where she began her first internship in a small architecture office. The work wasn't particularly memorable, but the year that she spent in London was a wonderful opportunity to explore the city and travel around Europe.

She returned to McGill for her Master's degree, then moved to Vancouver where she completed the rest of her mandatory internship hours in a small commercial architecture firm. During this time, she signed up for a night class in Passivhaus design taught by Dr. Guido Wimmers, and those evenings spent in an underground amphitheater proved to be a pivotal moment in her career. At the time, Passivhaus was relatively new to Canada: the first PHI-certified project had been completed for the 2010 Olympics, but it would be a few years before the City of Vancouver embraced Passivhaus in its policies, sparking national interest in this ambitious building standard. Evelyne was drawn to this rigorous science-based approach where the architect retained creative freedom, but also gained new tools to better understand the impacts of design decisions.

Shortly thereafter, Evelyne joined Local Practice Architecture + Design, a sustainability-focused firm where she tried to apply Passivhaus principles to every project, although it was a while before a client was willing to set a project's performance metrics in line with the Passivhaus standard.

In 2017, Evelyne returned to her roots, moving back to Hemmingford, QC, the small rural community where she grew up. She founded Tandem Architecture Écologique to create sustainable energy-efficient projects and to promote architectural quality in rural areas. She also began teaching technical courses for Passive House Canada and was elected to the organization's board of directors. This balance between project work, teaching and advocacy allows Evelyne to have a broader impact on the industry and to better understand the systems that make change possible. Last fall, Evelyne began co-teaching the first-year design studio at the McGill University School of Architecture, which is a welcome opportunity to circle back to the formative years that sparked her career.