Recently, the AIA Canada Society hosted a panel discussion titled “Future of Architecture in Canada – A Conversation,” which brought together architects and students to examine current issues and envision how the field of architecture can better serve communities and future generations of Canadians. The participants included students Fangying (Maggie) Liu, Jaspal Ubhi, and Carlee Wale, along with practicing architects and educators Lisa Landrum and Darryl Condon, with Dora Ng as the moderator.
The conversation revolved around various themes, such as climate change, diversity and inclusivity, affordable housing, economic challenges, and technological advancements. The participants expressed concerns about the future of architecture and its ability to adapt to societal and environmental challenges.
Maggie Liu’s research focused on affordable housing typologies in North Vancouver and explored how architecture can respond to changing lifestyles and needs. She also examined the role of evolving artificial intelligence technologies in the profession and how architects define themselves as creative professionals. Her study utilized co-housing typologies and AI-generated images to envision the future of affordable housing in the region.
Jaspal Ubhi delved into urban social issues, specifically the intangible aspects of segregation caused by urban design practices like redlining. He explored the potential of technology to combat these barriers and create more cohesive, accessible communities and architecture. Ubhi also raised questions about the risks and opportunities associated with digital tools in city design and form-making processes.
Carlee Wale’s research focused on adaptive reuse of existing buildings. She advocated for reforms in architectural education to encourage students to explore the adaptability of structures to accommodate current needs and lifestyles, challenging the prevalent culture of valorizing new buildings over existing ones.
Lisa Landrum, recently appointed Chair of TMU’s Department of Architectural Science, emphasized the potential of current and future students in architecture. She highlighted the Canadian Architecture Forums in Education (CAFÉ), which has engaged all twelve architecture schools across the country in multi-year workshops. These workshops centered around themes of climate action, social justice, diversity, accessibility, community engagement, Indigenous empowerment, and more.
Darryl Condon, managing partner of HCMA, discussed his involvement with the Rise for Architecture initiative advocating for an architectural policy for Canada. The initiative called for renewed partnerships within the profession, collaboration, an expanded definition of public interest, improved equity, involvement of the public in shaping communities, and architects and firms contributing solutions to social challenges.
The panelists shed light on the importance of design thinking and social justice in architecture. The webinar received great interest from the audience, with many expressing a desire to participate in future CAFÉ sessions and contribute to the Rise for Architecture initiative.
The AIA Canada Society aims to continue facilitating discussions, research, teaching, and practice to address the challenges faced by the architectural profession. The recorded webinar can be accessed on the AIA Canada Society website.
Sources: AIA Canada Society (www.aiacanadasociety.org)