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Meet McKenzie Cooper

Student Feature

McKenzie Cooper: CAT Interior Design Program Graduate and MASI Award Winner

Tell us a little bit about your time at CAT.

“I stumbled upon CAT when searching for Interior Design schools. One thing that led me to CAT and ultimately choosing to go there was the smaller class sizes, ability to work closely with industry members in the community and knowing they had the right information to send me forward with my career like taking the NCIDQ examinations.

The smaller class sizes and student engagement with the instructors was very valuable to me as they wanted to see us succeed. It’s not often you would be able to find teachers able to help students so closely with their work.”

What was your first job post-graduation and how did you find it?

“My first job post-graduation was with the local Kelowna design firm Begrand-Fast Design. I actually got offered a position based on a mock interview we did through one of the classes at CAT. It was a great reference tool to get feedback from industry professionals, and it ultimately led me to my first job experience out of school.”

Tell us a little bit about your career progression since then.

“After leaving Begrand- Fast Design, I moved back home to Saskatchewan to an architecture firm in Saskatoon, SK. Since then, I have attained all my required education and experience credits to write the NCIDQ exams. I am now a fully Registered Interior Designer in the province of Saskatchewan.”

Tell us a little bit about the firm where you now work.

“I currently work for ‘aodbt architecture + interior design’, an architecture firm in Saskatoon, SK. The projects our firm work on involve commercial, hospitality, health care, first nations, industrial, etc. I have been fortunate enough in my career to work on projects like a brand new arena for the University of Saskatchewan, various schools in the province, and other highlighted events within the province of Saskatchewan. Each project is always unique which I enjoy.”

You recently won a MASI for your work with your company on the Hyde Park View Project, can you tell us a little bit about the project, why you think it was award winning, and what winning the MASI means to you and your firm.

“Hyde Park View is a unique senior’s housing project located in Saskatoon, SK. It was designed with an alternate approach to low-income housing for the rapidly aging ‘Baby Boomer’ generation.

The concept for this facility was to create a modern and desirable place for both residents and staff to enjoy. The four-storey residence contains 125 life lease suites aimed at maximizing its value for tenants by including floor- to-ceiling windows, radiant in-floor heating and walk-in tiled showers in ensuites.

Hyde Park View also aimed at providing an age-in- place design, and windows with stunning views of the surrounding parks, an interconnected lobby space, two-storey gas fireplace and multiple gathering spaces.

The interiors are warm and inviting, featuring walnut- clad columns and panels, with timeless and neutral flooring throughout. White and black accents are showcased through the furniture, lighting, wallpaper and historical graphics of Saskatoon.

What sets Hyde Park View apart from other facilities is its unique approach to design. The baby boomer generation has a different concept of what home is versus another generation, so trying to adapt to that in a different way lets it stand out. The residents of this facility are very proud to show off their new homes because of this. 

Winning a MASI award for this project is a great accomplishment for myself  interior design and aodbt. It not only helps recognize great design within the province of Saskatchewan, but also show that you can make things look beautiful by being smart with your design, finishes and concepts by still keeping to industry standards for accessibility and healthcare guidelines.”

Lastly, the Hyde Park View project won another award as well, can you tell me what it was?

“Last year the project was awarded a Bronze Award for the Premier’s Award of Excellence during Saskatchewan Design Week. This event, hosted by Design Council of Saskatchewan recognizes great design in multiple categories within the province of Saskatchewan including interior design, architecture, graphic design, landscape architecture, engineering and urban planning.”

Interested in pursuing a career in Interior Design? Read more about our program here!