Dwayne MacEwen began building homes on the Island as a child with his dad. Now, the 54-year-old former P.E.I. resident is making architectural waves around the world.
MacEwen’s firm recently completed a $90-million health club project, complete with a spa and pool, in Chicago. His firm, DMAC Architecture of Chicago, has also constructed restaurants for basketball star Michael Jordan in Illinois and Oregon and worked with tennis star Venus Williams on a fitness complex in Chicago.
He’s also worked on large-scale projects including a medical campus in London, an Olympic pool in Barcelona, an expansion of a health club in Montreal and a casino restaurant and lounge in Pittsburgh.
“Sometimes I have to pinch myself, how did I get here from P.E.I.?” MacEwen said in an interview from his Chicago home.
“We’re now doing this crazy project … it’s an automotive country club being built inside a private airport 11 miles from South Beach in Miami. Honestly, flying around with the owner, going to different tracks in New Orleans and all over the country and just sort of experiencing that and now we’re responsible for 100 per cent of the architecture in that club.”
His firm was recently awarded what he described as a “David and Goliath” deal with American Airlines. His DMAC Architecture, with 18 architects, was going up against firms with hundreds of architects on staff. His firm will be working on a rebranding of the airline’s lounges.
MacEwen said he was more in the way than anything else when he started working with his late father, John MacEwen, as a child. His mom, Dorothy MacEwen, still lives in the family home in New Dominion.
But by 16 that had all changed. He’d purchased his first pickup truck and built his first home. By the time he graduated from high school, he had built a second home.
He studied engineering at UPEI before attending the Technical University of Nova Scotia, now DalTech in Halifax, where he received his bachelor of environmental design studies and his masters of architecture.
He said his P.E.I. roots and his experience with his dad on construction sites make him a better architect.