Acton Ostry Architects (AOA) are marking the company’s silver jubilee with a hardcover book, AOA25. It covers 25 years of business, 25 years of architecture, and 25 highlighted projects—all which hold personal significance for the firm’s founding principals, Russell Acton and Mark Ostry.
“One of the things we had to do when we were putting this together is reflect on all of the work we’ve done,” Ostry explains. “We couldn’t put everything in the book.”
They chose projects that were meaningful to the founders and presented them without the benefit of hindsight. “We wanted to tell a story of the evolution of the firm over 25 years,” Acton says. “But we also wanted to have a real honesty to it. Everything in the book in terms of text, drawings, models, photographs, are all from the time the projects were done. We didn’t modify anything. It’s a true history.”
Their target audience is architectural devotees and architectural students—as they once were when they first met 27 years ago. “We want it out there so that people we don’t meet through business have the opportunity to see our work,” Acton explains. But the book isn’t just about them, it’s marking a milestone that couldn’t have been met without their team. “We have a lot of very talented architects with us at our practice who have been with us for a long time, and we want to be able to recognize their dedication and talent.”
AOA25 is stocked at Gastown’s Inform Interiors and its authors are donating the entirety of the book’s proceeds to the education of young architects. How this manifests will be determined after a year of sales—to see how far the money will stretch. Ostry hopes it will take the shape of a scholarship or bursary. “Or maybe we’ll have to throw it all in if no copies sell,” Acton jokes.
After 25 years, the two men feel fortunate. “It made sense for us to pay it down the line,” Ostry says.
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