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Office tale of Edward Solodukhin, architect and creative director of Ottawa Architecture Week

Office tale of Edward Solodukhin, architect and creative director of Ottawa Architecture Week

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

Who are you?
Hey, my name is Edward Solodukhin (Solo – do – kin), and I’m an architect who’s into graphics, coding and UX.

Your current job:
Having spent the last 5 years in an architecture firm, I decided to switch gears and try something a little pacier.
I am now the creative director of Ottawa Architecture Week (, which is an annual not-for-profit festival celebrating the role of architecture and design in the Ottawa region. I also freelance as a web designer, develop graphics for apps and print, and occasionally get involved with small architecture projects.

In which city are you located?
I live and work in Ottawa, Ontario, but occasionally travel to do work in Toronto, Niagara Falls, and Kingston, Ontario. I like to keep my options open.

A word to define what kind of worker you are:
I’m a tinkerer.
I wish that I could say that I just wake up in the morning with a grand idea and spend the rest of the day developing it. Instead, creativity comes to me through experimentation. I play with the variables and produce countless design permutations. This tinkering leaves my computer filled to the brim with versions, options, and revisions. It’s a tedious process, but my clients love the variety because it lets us arrive at a design that we can both be proud of.

What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..):
All I really need is my sketch book, a felt tip pen and a healthy amount of background noise.
The rest is done with a combination of the following tools:
Software: Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Lightroom, Premiere, Dreamweaver, SketchUp, Rhino, Kerkythea and Maxwell Render
iPad: Adobe Illustrator Draw and Wacom Creative Stylus 2, Paper and Pencil by FiftyThree
Mobile: Wunderlist, Simplenote, Evernote
And of course, to suit every occasion, I must have my massive collection of headphones.

What does your office space look like?
Since I began freelancing I frequent the coffee shops by day, like a proper basic bitch.
At night I work from my home office, which is essentially my 15” Macbook Pro Retina, Dell u2410 display, and an ever growing collection of gadgets, toys, hobbies, and reference material all laid out neatly onto dull yet functional Ikea furniture.
Sometimes I fear that all this cold tech will eat my soul someday, which is why I keep George, the friendly cactus, nearby for company.
One thing is for certain, I don’t miss the god forsaken beige cubicle matrix of my old architecture firm.

What kind of music do you listen to when you are working?
These days I’m a big fan of and the incredible reviews of Anthony Fantano at
At the moment I am infatuated with Gesaffelstein’s album Aleph, Apex Twin’s Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2, Kendrick Lamar, Depeche Mode, and Hans Zimmer’s film scores.

Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work?
Wunderlist is my only way to stay organized. I’m a quintessential male — absolutely unable to multitask — which is why I ration my work into micro-tasks in the evening and try to do it by day. A simple phone call from the annoying “you’ve won a cruise” can throw a wrench into this delicate system, which is why I need my headphones and prefer working at night.

What tips would you give to improve productivity?
Take short breaks every hour and keep your desk neat. The rest is all just hard work.

You’re better than your colleagues at:
I’m trying to figure that out for myself. It’s probably the ability to find flaws.

What is the best advice anyone has given you?
This isn’t an advice, but rather something that my professor, Tom Dubicanac, would yell out in a thick Czech accent during crunch time and before every crit. It stuck because that’s all that really matters; in life and at work.
“Don’t tell me, shooooow me!” was another piece of advice he would yell out when anyone went too far describing a future project.

What is your best tip for saving time?
Schedule interim meetings and milestone deadlines. Those will keep you on your toes.

What is your routine start and end of the day?
I wake up reaching for the phone to read my emails, weather and news.
In the evening I fall asleep reading a book until it slips out of my wilting hands and smacks me in the face. No pain no gain — I guess.

Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not go without?
At the moment I am quite obsessed with my Jawbone Up Move as it actually encourages me to stay fit. I’m competitive by nature, and this little jerk is great at chirping at me all day long.