In 2014, Magdalena Warshawski’s life path was pretty much set. She had degrees in health sciences, and presumed she’d go to med school like her dad. But as she immersed herself in the medical field, she started to worry. “I had a quarter-life crisis about what I wanted to do with my life,” she says.
She had a creative need the medical field couldn’t fulfill. So she applied to the architecture program at the University of Toronto, despite having “zero exposure” to any design-related discipline. What she did have was a strong attention to detail, and lots of doodling experience. But she didn’t doodle little square houses without taking the pen off the page — she sketched artistic renditions of people’s homes, and even anatomy illustrations for medical textbooks.
Still, when the first day came, “I kind of freaked out in the parking lot, thinking, ‘This is totally out of my element,’ until my husband said, ‘You can do this. Just get out of the car.’”
She got out of the car, got her degree and got a job at HOK — and ended up right back in health care, designing and renovating hospitals. Upon moving to Edmonton in 2014, she joined DIALOG. It fulfills her need to create, and her calling to comfort.
“You don’t have to go to public facilities, but at some point, you have to go to a hospital, where people are at their most vulnerable. We design, around the efficiency needs of staff, and emotional needs of people at the most critical points in their lives.”