Peterborough-based Lett Architects Inc. has rebranded as Unity Design Studio and is expanding with two new locations in Collingwood and Kitchener.
The architectural firm — whose local projects include the Canadian Canoe Museum (currently under construction), the Peterborough Animal Care Centre, Brock Mission, Hospice Peterborough, Peterborough County Agricultural Heritage Building, Market Hall Performing Arts Centre, and more — has projects in 17 municipalities across Ontario.
According to a media release, the new name and locations reinforces the firm’s “focus on bringing people together through design, creating harmonious, and prosperous environments that positively impact communities.”
“Unity believes in building communities by understanding their goals, investing ourselves in their success and committing to their prosperity,” says Unity Design Studio principal Bill Lett Jr. in the release. “We engage through strong, in-depth collaboration. We then create inspired spaces with purpose and lay the groundwork for thoughtful growth.”
Founded in Toronto in 1968 as William Lett Architects by Bill Lett Sr., who had previously worked at Ron Thom Architects where he was project architect for Champlain College and Lady Eaton College at Trent University, the firm became Lett/Smith Architects in 1973 when Peter Smith, who also worked with Ron Thom on the original Trent University campus, joined forces with Bill Lett Sr.
In 1995, Lett/Smith Architects opened a second location in Peterborough and Bill Lett Sr. relocated to the area to lead the office, whose first project was Showplace Performance Centre. Lett/Smith Architects amicably dissolved in 2004, with the Peterborough office continuing as Lett Architects Inc. and the Toronto office continuing as Peter J. Smith Architect Inc.
In 2008, Bill Lett Jr. — who had joined his father at the Peterborough location 10 years earlier — assumed full control of Lett Architects Inc. In 2016, the firm purchased and renovated the building at 138 Simcoe Street, previously a bank and then an art gallery. In 2017, Michael Gallant and Kristy Hook became partners in the firm, with Mike Stock joining as partner in 2022. In 2021, the firm became Canada’s first certified B Corporation architectural practice.
According to Gallant, the new name for Lett Architects Inc., reflects the firm’s values and direction.
“Unity captures the essence of what we do — bringing people together through design, bridging gaps between the tangible and intangible, the built and the natural, the individual and the collective,” Gallant says.