Lateral Office, founded in 2003 by Mason White and Lola Sheppard, is an experimental design practice that operates at the intersection of architecture, landscape, and urbanism. The studio describes its practice process as a commitment to “design as a research vehicle to pose and respond to complex, urgent questions in the built environment,” engaging in the “wider context and climate of a project– social, ecological, or political.” Lateral Office is committed to an architecture that responds directly to the demands of the 21st century – and the subsequent new typologies made possible by an architecture that brazenly confronts today. Recent work and research focuses on powerful design relationships between public realm, infrastructure, and the environment.
LATERAL OFFICE’s work has been exhibited in numerous venues across the United States and Canada, as well as Germany, Iceland, England, and the Faroe Islands. Both Lola and Mason have lectured extensively across the USA and Canada, as well as Norway, Germany, England, Belgium, and Colombia and have been invited as external guest critics at several institutions including: Harvard GSD, Yale University, Columbia University, UCLA, UBC, McGill University, among many others. Clients and collaborators have included City of Memphis, City of Reykjavik, City of Toronto, Metis Garden, Harbourfront Centre, Culture and Heritage Nunavut, Holcim Foundation, among others. Lateral Office have been recognized with several awards and merits including: a 2016 National Urban Design Award; a 2013 Progressive Architecture Award; a 2011 Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction Gold Award; a 2011 Emerging Voices award from the Architectural League of New York; and the 2010 Canada Council for the Arts Professional Prix de Rome. The firm was selected to represent Canada with Arctic Adaptations at the 2014 Venice Biennale in Architecture, where they received Special Mention – a first for Canada at the Architecture Biennale. And in 2015, the firm was the only Canadian participant at the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial.
Lola Sheppard is a Registered Architect and received her Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Bachelor of Architecture from McGill University and a Master of Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design. She is an Associate Professor and the Undergraduate Officer of the School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo where she also serves as Undergraduate Officer. She has taught at the University of Toronto, Ohio State University, and California College of the Arts. Lola previously worked in the offices of Jean Nouvel (Paris), Peter Rose (Cambridge), and Allies and Morrison (London) before forming Lateral Office. She is committed to architecture’s new relationship to social and ecological possibilities – not just solutions. Lola is the recipient of the 2012 RAIC Young Architect Award.