The Team


David Fortin (Principal Investigator)

Born in Calgary, Alberta, Professor Fortin grew up in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, before pursuing degrees from the University of Saskatchewan (B.A.), the University of Calgary (M.Arch), and the University of Edinburgh, UK (Ph.D). He is a registered architect in the province of Alberta (Architect AAA), a Member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (MRAIC), as well as a member of the Métis Nation of Ontario. He is one of the founding faculty members at the Laurentian University McEwen School of Architecture, the first new school of architecture in Canada in over 40 years. The fledgling program is composed of a unique design-build curriculum that embraces First Nations, Métis, and Inuit cultures to inform how to sustainably design meaningful connections to Northern landscapes and communities through the built environment. He gained professional experience working for McKinley Burkart Architects and GEC Architecture in Calgary, has previously taught architecture at the University of Edinburgh and Montana State University, has been an invited design critic at the University of Calgary, and has lectured publicly on topics related to Métis design, science-fiction and architecture, designing for climate change, and systems thinking. He is the author of Architecture and Science Fiction Film.



Jason Surkan (Graduate Summer Student)

Born and raised in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Jason Surkan holds a Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch) from Carleton University. He previously studied Commerce at the University of Saskatchewan, and is currently pursuing his Masters of Architecture (M.Arch) degree at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He is of mixed Canadian Ancestry – Métis, Scottish, Ukrainian and Polish. Jason is a member of Fish Lake Metis Local #108, and the Metis Nation of Saskatchewan. He has worked intermittently for Douglas Cardinal Architect since 2014 as well as Oxbow Architecture in Saskatoon. His work is inspired through observation of nature. He aims to create culturally contextual work that is appropriate for the social, economic and political environment it will perform within.


Dani ImageJPG

Danielle Kastelein (Undergraduate Summer Student)

Dani Kastelein is a third year student currently enrolled in Laurentian University’s Bachelor of Architectural Studies program in Sudbury. Raised in Burlington Ontario with family ties in both Penetanguishene and Sturgeon Falls, Dani is of Métis francophone heritage holding citizenship status with the Metis Nation of Ontario. An avid painter, knitter and sketch artist; Dani often draws inspiration from nature and the surrounding landscape. As a part of the design studio courses at Laurentian, Dani has had the opportunity to participate in many design-build projects. Examples of these include designing and building a demountable kiosk structure for the Mill Square Market in Sault Ste. Marie as well as taking part in the construction of an Ice Hut, Sauna and Birch Bark Canoe. This past winter, Dani was selected to participate in the Winter Stations Competition in Toronto.


One response to “The Team

  1. Valuable research site, important contribution to the understanding of Indigenous thought forms in Architecture. Great to finally see this type of research.
    Mushi chok!
    James K. Bird

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