Rolf Seifert

On Monday October 7th I heard the news from my work colleague that my boss Rolf Seifert had passed away suddenly of a heart attack the day before. I was heartbroken to lose this great boss and mentor. So here are a few words to leave to him.

Dear Rolf;

Thank you for everything you have done for me these last four years. You and Philip hired me together but you were the one I worked with day to day. The office was small and so I felt fortunate to be able to interact with you often. You always welcomed any question I had and no question was a bad question. You always seemed to have an answer from your wealth of experience. You had a creativity that allowed you to come up with beautiful architectural solutions, and a head for numbers that made it possible to convince clients because your ideas were sometimes cheaper. I liked how you created hand sketches as instructions to the contractors on site. I enjoyed our site visits to 2 Fraser, even though I discovered that some of the contractors thought I was your daughter! You were friendly and open and interacted well with everyone from corporate clients, to engineers, to tradesmen. You had a great sense of humour and a general ease that kept the office atmosphere light in a field that can otherwise be stressful. There were rare times when your chill demeanour stressed me out because you would sometimes not think to tell us of an impending deadline until it was already upon us! I have fond memories of going out with everyone for beers after work on Fridays or after a deadline. I also enjoyed the presence of our office mascot, your black lab Dakota who seemed to have a similar personality as you.

You were completely supportive of my efforts to become an architect and my desire to eventually work in Africa. When I chose to leave, you gave me an amazing sendoff. And then when my work in Beni ended abruptly because of the Ebola epidemic and I was living in Uganda and unemployed, you rehired me to work for you remotely. You trusted me to get the work done and report my hours honestly. And even though our relationship wasn’t the same as being in the office, I enjoyed the occasional calls we had to discuss the projects. I will never forget that our last call was to talk about whether Norbec panels need to be installed with a supporting structure. I’m glad that I got to spend a few days in the office when I visited back in May. You made it special by taking us all out for lunch at Torroni’s. Thank you for being a great mentor. Even though we never used that term I learned so much from you. I think that the way you conducted your work has had a lasting impact on my own practice of architecture. You will be remembered always.

Your employee, mentee, and friend.

 

Obituary from the Globe and Mail:

ROLF SEIFERT 57, died suddenly October 6, 2019, while playing water polo – a fantastically fun athlete to the very end. Brilliant mind, lively wit and skilled architect, he was blessed with beloved wife and partner Astrid (and her beloved family), son and best friend Neil, dear brother Eric (Genny, Nora, Theo), dear sister Irene (Dirk), and faithful dog Dakota. He was also extraordinarily blessed with true friends, devoted colleagues and loyal clients in Toronto and Graz, Austria. The gathering (Agape) will be held on Saturday, October 19 at 2:00 p.m. at 2 Fraser Ave. in Toronto.

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