Colin Mbugua:
Cultivating Architecture, Nurturing Communities

Colin Mbugua, a Kenyan-born, Milan-educated, and Vancouver-based architect, unveils a captivating story that challenges the norms and redefines the potential of his craft. “I am motivated by optimism in approaching all issues – The fact that life will always throw something at you, and this is always an opportunity to deal with something and turn it into something positive.”

Join us as we embark on a journey through his daily rituals, his appreciation for the ordinary, and his unwavering optimism. Discover how Colin Mbugua seamlessly weaves purpose, connection, and inspiration into every architectural endeavor.

Founder, Kagvrv
Vancouver, BC Canada
Videography by Jerez Challenger
Photography by Jeremy Jude Lee

A Serendipitous Journey

Colin brings a unique perspective to the world of architecture. His journey into this field was not a deliberate choice but a strike of serendipity. “I fell into the world of architecture by accident,” Colin reveals. “It was a matter of having the right subjects to get into school, and then school is where I really fell in love with the craft and took it seriously, and it still hasn’t wavered.”
Hailing from Kenya, Colin’s architectural pursuits have always been guided by a desire to make a positive impact. Within his architectural practice KAGVRV, Colin strives to explore beyond residential design. In addition to envisaging functional living spaces for his clients, he has ventured into the realm of sustainable food systems and materials, challenging conventional approaches and seeking innovative solutions. By intertwining his architectural expertise with a profound understanding of social and environmental issues, Colin endeavors to create a future where architecture becomes a catalyst for positive change.

Colin drafting a proposal in his apartment. Kitsilano, Vancouver West.

A Rhythm of Daily Rituals

In his daily life, Colin finds solace in the simplicity of routine. A typical day for him starts with a visit to a local coffee-cum-bike shop near his house. “I enjoy people-watching,” he admits. “It’s always nice to interact with your neighbors, even from a distance. Vancouver, being a dark, quiet city, it’s quite nice to just get a nod from people you know every other day.” This brief connection with others sets a positive tone for his day ahead.
One significant aspect of Colin’s routine is tending to an indoor farm. He drives or rides his bike to Chinatown in Vancouver, where the farm is located within his studio. Taking care of the plants and nourishing their growth brings him a sense of fulfillment. “I will typically drive or ride my bike down to Chinatown to look after the farm. After that, I will head back home and work on my drawings or any kind of duties I have to do, whether it’s a site inspection or greeting clients,” Colin shares. His commitment to his craft shines through as he embraces the everyday responsibilities that come with being an architect.

Rise Up Marketplace in Strathcona where Colin is a regular and friendly with the owner and staff.

Finding Magic in Everyday Moments

For Colin, the commute itself becomes an opportunity to appreciate the beauty in the mundane. “What’s special about my commute is how un-special it is,” he muses. He finds joy in observing people dealing with everyday life and their responses to the weather or daily challenges. The simplicity of these moments holds a certain magic for him, and it fuels his excitement during the journey.
Colin’s choice of transportation, riding his bike, holds a deeper significance for him beyond convenience. “Riding my bike keeps me closer to my context,” he explains. In a city where disconnection and road rage are all too common, cycling allows him to maintain a sense of connection to his surroundings. He appreciates the rare sight of a contented cyclist, even in the rain. It is a reminder of the joy he finds in the simplest experiences.

Nurturing Curiosity, Cultivating Change

Beyond his professional endeavors, Colin nurtures a personal project that reflects his curiosity about the countryside and its evolving dynamics. He contemplates the impact of urbanization on rural areas and food production. “My curiosity has begun with something as simple as farming,” Colin shares. He believes that bridging the gap between urban and rural communities and exploring ways to domesticate food production can bring about positive change in society.

NW Marine Drive by Spanish Banks Beach. One of Vancouver’s more remote beaches, this area is less crowded but more untamed in landscape for cyclists.

Harmonizing Work and Life

In the face of busyness and hectic schedules, Colin has developed strategies to stay focused on the task at hand. “You have to stay focused on the task at hand when things get too busy or too hectic,” he advises. Repositioning himself, looking at challenges from different angles, and embracing simplicity are key elements of his approach. “Through iteration, I somehow find my solution,” he adds. Colin understands the power of repetition and how it simplifies complex tasks, allowing him to navigate through demanding times with clarity.
Colin Mbugua’s motivation lies in his optimistic approach to all challenges. “I am motivated by optimism in approaching all issues,” he declares. He embraces life’s curveballs as opportunities for growth and transformation. Colin’s future goals revolve around making a meaningful impact through his work. He aims to bring about positive change and adapt his approach based on the lessons he learns along the way.

Embracing Optimism, Shaping Tomorrow

With a genuine appreciation for the ordinary and an unwavering dedication to exploring the extraordinary, Colin Mbugua humbly shapes the world around him through his remarkable architectural work. From Kenya, to Milan, to Vancouver – Colin’s deep-rooted passion for his craft infuses each project with a unique perspective, leaving an indelible mark on his community and beyond.
Through his unwavering commitment and daily rituals, Colin weaves a seamless tapestry of purpose, using architecture as a powerful medium to impact lives and inspire others. In his hands, the built environment becomes a canvas for connection, empowerment, and the realization of dreams. Colin Mbugua, a humble visionary, embraces the transformative power of architecture, reminding us all that even the smallest gestures can have a profound impact on the world.