Partners Cathy Garrido, Trevor McIvor, and Graham Smith met while studying architecture at the University of Waterloo and founded Altius Design Studio, incorporating the practice in 1998. The practice expanded in 2002 to include Altius Architecture Inc., a full service Architecture and Construction Management firm licensed by the Ontario Association of Architects. Tony Round joined the partnership in 2010. Working from a reclaimed industrial space in Torontoʼs Liberty Village, Altius serves the private sector as an interdisciplinary design firm specializing in urban and rural sustainable residential design and construction management.
In 2006 the Partners of Altius acquired an interest in Sustain Design Studio Ltd., a company dedicated to producing and developing energy neutral and off grid prefabricated housing solutions. The company's first project, the MiniHome, has received critical international acclaim having been featured on such programs as David Suzukiʼs The Nature of Things, and in Oprah's O Magazine.
In 2005 Altius was awarded an Ontario Association of Architects Award of Excellence for a multi-unit housing project in Parkdale, Toronto. In 2007 the City of Toronto gave Altius a Green Design Award of Excellence for residential sustainable design and in that same year the OAA recognized Altius with the "Best Emerging Practice" award.
Since 1998 Altius has completed over 300 individual residential projects. These projects include numerous site specific residences throughout Ontario's vast cottage country as well as urban houses. Their commercial work includes medical clinics in Toronto and the Middle East, office interiors and private art galleries. Altius consistently pushes the envelop of sustainable technology and contemporary design in all their projects.