James Colizza was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. After completing a commerce degree at McGill University, he studied architecture at Ottawa’s Carleton University graduating in 1976. James has maintained an ongoing interest in the teaching of architecture, serving as both a sessional instructor and a design studio critic at the Carleton University School of Architecture.
In 1980, he established his own firm and soon acquired a reputation for innovative design including mid-rise residential buildings employing the European approach of wrapping units around a common piazza. Within three years his work was annually winning numerous design awards from the Ontario government, the City of Ottawa and the Ottawa Carleton Home Builders Association as well as two Awards of Design Excellence (2005, 2010) from the Ontario Association of Architects. The firm’s clients have spanned a full spectrum from private sector developers to public social housing organizations and individual residential clients.
His approach to design continues to be strongly influenced by the expressive modernism of contemporary Dutch and Finnish architecture with a strong attachment to dynamic urbanism. He views authentic architecture as objects in the landscape that accept responsibility for embracing our experience of the cityscape. He has served on numerous City of Ottawa committees and working groups involved with improving urban design.