What's your favourite DIALOG initiative?
Aspire showcases our best work from the year and puts it in front of our colleagues and peers for critical discussion.
Where do you find inspiration?
I have been interested and curious about everything for my entire life.
What’s one item you won’t leave home without?
A sketchbook.
What's one quote you live by?
Architecture never reveals all of its secrets immediately.
What three things would you want with you if you were stranded on a deserted island?
Berlin, New York, and Montreal

Robert is an award-winning architect with more than 25 years of international design experience. As a design leader, he guides the overall vision of the project. Robert’s commitment to architecture and to an authentic understanding of the unique needs of each project comes in part from his interest in art and literature and also to a deep engagement with the challenges and opportunities of our current time. He believes that as architecture engages site and the environment, program, context and client, each building has an opportunity to express a greater cultural meaning.

Robert puts great emphasis and focus on understanding and reshaping the many forces that influence each project and strives to find a unique and inspired response to these conditions. Engaged and committed, Robert works closely with clients and colleagues alike and fosters a strong dedicated team approach to his work.

Robert’s core interest is in civic, cultural spaces, urban spaces, and cities. He is a consistent voice for the confluence between architecture and the arts in the design of our communities. This commitment reinforces the role of creativity as a catalyst for building a more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive community.

In addition, Robert is invested in a cross-disciplinary approach to theory and research that bridges the profession and academia. These interests have led to ongoing relationships with the University of Calgary and the Laboratory of Integrative Design. This research involves methods of fabrication as well as rethinking the construction processes to minimize waste.

Robert is a licensed architect in both Alberta and California. In 2002, he developed his own architectural practice in Montreal, Studio 451, where he focused on cultural projects and international competitions. From 1993 to 2002, he was design lead with Studio Libeskind in Berlin and Los Angeles where he was intimately involved with many international cultural, institutional, and master planning projects.

Robert earned his Master of Architecture degree from SCI-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture) in 1993 and his Bachelor of Architecture degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 1985 and a certificate from the Ecole d’arts Americaines in Fontainebleau, France.

He has taught architecture for many years at universities including the University of Calgary, McGill University, the University of Toronto, the University of Southern California and California Polytechnic State University, Pomona. He has lectured extensively, and his work has been exhibited both in Canada and internationally.

I wake each day and tell myself that I know nothing about architecture. This allows me to be curious and open to new ideas.
Robert Claiborne


  • Master of Architecture SCI-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture)
  • Bachelor of Architecture California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  • Certificate in mosaic, fresco, architecture, photography École d'Arts Américaines


2019 Mayor’s Urban Design Award, The MacKimmie Complex, City of Calgary

2015 Mayor's Urban Design Award (MUDA), Brewery District, City of Calgary

2012 AIA Presidential Citation World Trade Center, AIA

2011 Mayor's Medallion - Agent of Change, City of Ottawa

2009 Wilfred Truman Shaver Traveling Fellowship, McGill University

2007 First Place, International Competition, Museum of Contemporary Art, Novi Sad, Serbia

2007 Sheff Adjunct Faculty Teacher Award, McGill University,

2002 Finalist, Terrebonne Performing Arts Theatre Competition, Terrebonne Performing Arts Theatre

1997 Honorable Mention, Jyvaskyla Music and Arts Hall, Jyvaskyla, Finland

1992 Finalist, Nara Convention Hall International Design Competition

1984 Gran prix de mosaic, écoles d’arts américaines, Palais de Fontainebleau, France