Public City Architecture (formerly PSA Studios (Peter Sampson Architecture Studios) and Plain Projects


PSA Studios (Peter Sampson Architecture Studios) began in 2008. Originally from Montreal, Sampson attended John Abbott College in that city prior to obtaining a literature degree from McGill University, followed by a degree in architecture from the University of Toronto. Prior to establishing his own firm, he worked as an intern architect at the Toronto offices of Levitt Goodman Architects Limited and Joe Lobko Architect. This work was followed by employment as an associate architect at Prairie Architects, where Sampson participated in – amongst other projects – the design of the University of Winnipeg's Downtown Campus Development Plan. Sampson has also taught as a studio sessional instructor at University of Waterloo and at the University of Manitoba.

Since its inception, PSA Studios has sought to pursue projects which require innovation; as the firm has described it, their aim has been to produce work which is not driven by form and style but invention. Amongst the first undertakings the office engaged in was the design of the Buhler Centre (460 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, 2010) – a joint home to the Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art and the University of Winnipeg. Here Sampson worked in collaboration with two other practices – David Penner Architect and DIN Projects, together becoming DPA+PSA+DIN Collective – to create a multipurpose structure whose angularity reflects its site and its neighbour, the 1970 Winnipeg Art Gallery by Gustavo da Roza, clad in a novel skin featuring reflective strips.

PSA Studios output also includes the nearby University of Winnipeg Students’ Association bikeLAB (2010), a small, inventive structure, constructed of reclaimed shipping containers, which is intended to provide secure, lockable storage for cyclists and space for bicycle repair The design also features expanses of glass, so the activity inside may be seen, and provides for the possibility of future expansion. The interest in reuse that this project displays is reflected, as well, in Lyndale House (2010), a renovation and addition to an existing home overlooking the Red River, which strove to preserved such elements as a deteriorating chimney and extent landscaping.

More recent design by PSA Studios includes the Swan Valley Recreation + Wellness Centre (2012), a three-phase development designed to meet LEED certification which will contain a lap and leisure pools, change rooms, a sauna and water slide. Another project in rural Manitoba is the design of Gillam Town Centre (with Calnitsky Associates Architects), a mixed-use development which seeks to establish an urban core in the northern community. Here the original request was for a new shopping mall; PSA Studios questioned the need for such a complex and proposed the re-development of extant residential, retail, commercial, and institutional structures toward similar ends, a project to be completed by means of a consultative approach.

In late 2016, the firm PSA Studio amalgamated with Plain Projects to become Public Architecture.



  • “Canadian Architect Awards.” Canadian Architect. December, 2011.
  • Bellamy, Brent. “New buildings contain promise: Shipping units repurposed as sustainable architecture.” Winnipeg Free Press. 5 March 2012.
  • Boddy, Trevor. “Turning Point.” Canadian Art (Summer 2011): 94–7.
  • Cash, Martin. "Making an urban impression." Winnipeg Free Press. (Aug. 30, 2010): B5-6.
  • Rochon, Lisa. “Local architects power Winnipeg’s reinvigorated design.” Globe and Mail. 19 October 2012.
  • Sampson, Peter. “Where Ecology Meets Economy.” SABMag 35 (May/June 2012).
  • Sampson, Peter. “Floating on Water.” Canadian Architect 56, 6 (June 2011).
  • Sampson, Peter. “Climate Controlled.” Canadian Architect 55, 1 (January 2010).
  • Sampson, Peter. “Mr. Sandman.” Canadian Architect 54, 5 (May 2009).
  • Sampson, Peter. “Urban Twist.” Canadian Architect 53, 9 (September 2008).
  • Sampson, Peter. “Corner Glass.” Canadian Architect 51, 6 (June 2006).