John Ota

Region: Ontario
Born 1955, Ontario


John Ota M.S., B.Arch., B.A., is a proud Japanese Canadian who has had a varied career in the architect and design world in Canada. He has writing expertise in the field, possessing an academic background in contemporary architecture and historic preservation, as well as possessing exhibition curator skills and skills in architectural design. John has been involved with architecture and design since 1978 and has written freelance articles for the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, AZURE, Canadian House and Home, and Canadian Architect.

He has worked in architecture offices in Toronto, New York and Vancouver and has a Master of Science degree from the School of Architecture at Columbia University and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of British Columbia. John has chaired the awards committee of the Ontario Association of Architects and also acted as a juror for the OAA awards. John has served as a Board Member on the Toronto Historical Board and has worked at the Ontario Ministry of Culture as the government lead on the Renaissance ROM project, the AGO Transformation project and the Revitalization of Ontario Place.

In 2004, he was the lead curator on an exhibition called “Living Spaces, 21 contemporary Canadian houses” that toured Canada. John has acted as a guest critic at the Ryerson University School of Architecture and as an advisor to the Architecture Gallery at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. He currently serves on the Art Committee of the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre. He lives in Toronto, in a house he built with his wife, Frances Rowe. Appetite, an imprint of Penguin Random House, will publish John’s book on the history of kitchens in Spring 2019.

Artist Statement

“I-ta-da-ki masu.”
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