Gordon Ryan Arnott was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on August 1, 1926. Arnott attended Daniel McIntyre Collegiate and then went on to study architecture at the University of Manitoba. His prolific architectural career began in Winnipeg at the firm Green Blankstein Russell (GBR). He worked at GBR during the summers of 1946 and 1947 while he was working on his bachelor’s degree. Upon his graduation in 1948, Arnott was awarded the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada Gold Medal. He continued to work for GBR after his graduation until 1950. Arnott then went to the University of British Columbia where he held a post-graduate fellowship in community and regional planning from 1951 to 1952.
Arnott settled down in Regina in 1954 where he established a partnership with his classmate Kiyoshi Izumi. Arnott remained in Saskatchewan for the rest of his career and established several firms over the years, including Izumi, Arnott, Sugiyama; Gordon R. Arnott & Associates; Arnott MacPhail Johnstone & Associates; Arnott Macphail Associates; and Arnott Kelly O’Connor Associates. Within these firms, Arnott worked on major projects in Saskatchewan such as the Norman MacKensize Art Gallery; the Saskatchewan Centre for the Arts; the Midtown Plaza; the University of Saskatchewan campus; and the University of Regina campus.
Arnott served as president of the Saskatchewan Association of Architects in 1961 and president of the Royal Architectural Institute of Architects from 1970 to 1971. Both the University of Regina and the University of Manitoba offer bursaries in memory of Arnott.
Arnott passed away on May 7, 1996 in Banff.