Ruth Cawker opened her architecture practice in Toronto in 1986. She holds degrees from three universities, including a degree in French and English literature and professional degrees in architecture.
Her Toronto practice won the competition for the headquarters of the Ontario Association of Architects. Following completion of the OAA building in 1992, Cawker was appointed Chief Architect of CIBC Development Corporation, overseeing design guidelines for bank architecture and office space. The design for CIBC’s banking machine surround was carried out under her direction, along with the vis-à-vis furniture system, installed in banks across Canada.
In 1995, Cawker moved to France with Marc Baraness, where she complete graduate research (DEA) on the Mediterranean garden. Her research included a thesis comparing the work of garden designer Octave Godard with that of urban designer Robert da Souza, as well as an analysis of Nice’s expressway, which was published in 2000 in the collection Mobilité & esthétique. Cawker was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Glendon College, York University in 1996.
The partnership Atelier Baraness + Cawker was created in Nice in 1997. Cawker’s role in the Atelier is both as a member of the design team and as a resource in specification and quality control throughout the practice. Her ongoing research includes garden design, interior and exterior lighting, furniture and materials.