Exploring Awe in Architecture.
EDGZ Architecture & Design Studio is an award-winning Toronto-based practice, exploring awe in architecture to create deeper, more meaningful spatial experiences in partnership with conscientious clients, while contributing to the collective challenge of addressing climate change through high performance buildings.

The studio’s design process follows guiding aspirational principles that form the acronym EDGZ (expand text below), with the goal of being upfront and open in all aspects, while shaping architecture through manifest ideas. The practice is digital-forward and craft-oriented, imbued with an interest in computational workflows like parametrics and generative design. Professionalism and service are fundamental, invested in continuously improving systems and technology to facilitate the client experience.

Fundamental to the studio’s design praxis, awe in architecture invokes aesthetic philosophies of the Sublime, but distilled and reinterpreted through architectural tectonics, which may be described as the art of construction. And if art can be framed as part craft and part vision, then sublime tectonics can be thought of as implementing the elements of architecture (light, materiality, mass, etc.) to explore that design space which elicits a sense of awe, leading to a renewed conception of the built environment.

Corollary to the work, EDGZ is committed to constantly learning and progressing. An initial imperative entailed Certified Passive House Designer accreditation, instilling concomitant building science rigour in the pursuit of earth stewardship. We believe in striving towards a world that is more equitable, sustainable, and awe-inspiring.
Praxis (n.): How theory is implemented, which in architecture means building buildings (
Each principle has a defining character, encompassing the methodological, aesthetic, conceptual, and experiential.

[E] The first principle, 'Exoteric', is important in establishing the methodological foundations for the practice. The word describes external knowledge, or that which can be ascertained by anyone, even though in some cases it may be difficult to do so. This is in opposition to 'esoteric', which is internal, or known to very few. This translates to being open and transparent, not least of all with our clients to create trust and lasting partnerships. The principle pre-situates the work in the practice‘s methodology, while also founding the drive to explore rules-based computational workflows like parametrics and generative design.

[D] D stands for ’Distilled’, defined as: (v.) extract the essential meaning or most important aspects of. As a principle that governs aesthetics, the impetus is to imbue each project with an essence deriving from the impellent conceptual kernel (often referred to as the parti), as opposed to contrived styles. The elements of architecture should be articulated in such a way as to express the parti, which often results in a pared down, design-forward aesthetic, rather than a methodology that approaches with preconceived notions of what something should look like.

[G] Inspired by the German aesthetic term, Gesamtkunstwerk (meaning "total artwork"), the G in EDGZ stands for 'Gesamtkonzept', or "total concept". Conceptual kernels come in different flavours: formal, narrative, materiality, and tectonics. The strongest projects address them all, usually in varying degrees, striking a balance between the theoretical and the experiential.

[Z] The last letter, Z, which is the experiential principle, stands for 'Zen-blime', a portmanteau of Zen and Sublime. Zen evokes the sense of sanctuary and repose we all seek, and Sublime evokes that sense of awe, effected by thoughtfully articulated architectural elements, where you cannot readily determine how something was built, leading to mystery and depth.

Eric Tse (he/him)
Principal, OAA, CPHD, M.Arch
Eric is a registered architect with the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) and a Certified Passive House Designer (CPHD). He founded EDGZ in 2019 to pursue the studio's praxis and focus on a newly growing family.

Prior to establishing EDGZ, Eric accumulated 10 years of experience at the acclaimed design practices in Toronto of Williamson Williamson Inc. and Hariri Pontarini Architects, helming projects early on ranging in scale from home renovations to custom new builds to a 30,000 sqft ski clubhouse.

Eric also experienced life in New York City while receiving a Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, graduating with an Honour Award for Excellence in Design.

Throughout this time, digital technologies and systematic methodologies have been key to pushing projects forward while serving clients to realize their visions. Eric is keen to explore and implement computational workflows like parametrics and generative design, while constantly improving the practice's systems to facilitate better service and quality.