In collaboration with the Esker Foundation, we hosted an unconventional book club for the public, on the topic of connection to place. Co-moderated by volunteers Maureen Hodgan and Wendy Mendes, as well as the co-founder of the Stoney Nakoda Youth Council, Daryl Kootenay, the question we wished to explore was: How can we characterize our relationship to the land we live in?Read More
REDx Talks, a branch of iiniistsi Treaty Arts Society, and d.talks co-presented an evening with the renowned Canadian architect, Douglas Cardinal.
The event was held at Contemporary Calgary’s new location, the Centennial Planetarium. The design of the Planetarium, a Brutalist building, was selected from 18 entries submitted by Calgary architects. A concept drawing by winning firm McMillan Long & Assoc. features a hexagon-fitted circular roof. Our talk with Douglas Cardinal was under this dome.
We featured this wonderful video about Calgary’s Treaty 7 territory produced by Cowboy Smithx and supported by the Calgary Foundation to open the evening.
Douglas Cardinal is an architect, planner, activist, philosopher, artist and Anishinaabe Elder. Born in 1934 in Calgary, his organic style of architecture is a result of a keen awareness and connection to nature. His buildings and planned communities have been recognized as early leaders in sustainability and ecological design. Many of his early buildings are located in Alberta: in Grand Prairie, St. Albert, Edmonton, Ponoka, Red Deer and Stony Plain. In the late 1970s his office was an early-adopter of computer aided design technology, resulting in curvilinear lines and free-form shapes.
Douglas Cardinal was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1990, and he was declared a World Master of Contemporary Architecture by the International Association of Architects. In 1998, his master plan for the James Bay Cree in Quebec was recognized by UNESCO for best sustainable village. In 2018, Douglas Cardinal was a co-curator for UNCEDED at the Canadian Pavilion of the Venice Architecture Biennale.
With a combined program that celebrates Douglas Cardinal's Indigenous ancestry, Mr. Cardinal's keynote presentation was followed by a REDx Intertribal by local aboriginal chef Shane Chartrand; and to close the evening, a discussion in the round, an oral tradition.
Chef Shane is part of a new documentary series exploring modern Indigenous cuisine called Red Chef Revival. His first cookbook launches this fall titled, Tawâw: Progressive Indigenous Cuisine (Tawâw is Cree for “Welcome, there is room”).
Continuing the Conversation
The speaker’s gift was the title: It’s All Happening So Fast: A Counter-History of the Modern Canadian Environment edited by Lev Bratishenko and Mirko Zardini (CCA). You can find it on the d.talks recommends shelf at Shelf Life Books.
The exhibition Douglas Cardinal curated, UNCEDED: Voices of the Land, is on view at the Canadian Museum of History through March 2020. You can read a FOLD review of the exhibition written by Justin Loucks here.
You can hear Douglas Cardinal speak about his world view here. His planning is exhibited at the Art Gallery of Alberta through August.
You can view Brutal Visions at Contemporary Calgary through September 1st.
This evening was made possible with the support of the Calgary Foundation, Contemporary Calgary, the Art Gallery of Alberta, the University of Alberta, the Alberta Association of Architects, and Blackwater Creative. This event was a co-production between REDx Talks, the iiniistsi Treaty Arts Society, and d.talks.
May 28th at noon
What mobility alternatives are on the horizon? Can movement provoke new relationships with our city? And finally, can transportation be…provocative?
Led by: Jeremy Klaszus, co-founder of The Sprawl and planning geek Desmong Bliek
Panelist book: Faster, Smarter, Greener by Venkat Sumantran, Charles Fine, and David Gonsalvez (MIT Press)
May 30 at noon
What are the moving parts of a successful design? What kind of collaboration is necessary to consider new alternatives for our public realm and built form?
Led by: Dan England, Parks, City of Calgary; Joyce Tang, Urban Strategy, City of Calgary (Centre City and Main Streets Implementation); Matt Williams, Principal, O2 Design / President-Elect, Alberta Association of Landscape Architects
Panelist book: Design for Good: A New Era of Architecture for Everyone by John Cary (Island Press)
Flows in the City
June 4 at noon
What do roads and watersheds have in common? How is life in the city expressed by that which flows throughout? What can the interconnection (one above ground, one below) reveal about where we live?
Led by: Paul Fesko, retired water engineer and Tawab Hlimi, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape at the University of Calgary
Panelist book: The Well Tempered City by Jonathan F. P. Rose (Harper Wave) and What is Landscape? By John R. Stilgoe (MIT Press)
More: find more about the Metabolic Movement idea by Tawab Hlimi.
Mayor’s Environmental Expo
June 6 at noon
The City in Nature session led by: Kaitlynn Livingstone, City of Calgary.
June 6 at 6pm
What does the existing cycle network mean for residents, shop owners, and visitors to the city? What challenges and obstacles did the pilot track overcome? Where do we go from here?
Discussion with: Blanca Bracic, Manager, Liveable Streets, City of Calgary; Dale Calkins, Senior Policy & Planning Advisor, City of Calgary Ward 7; Kimberly Nelson; Peter Oliver, President Beltline Neighbourhoods Association; Scott Harvey, Operations Manager Lime; Werna Boek, Director Operations, Hotel Arts; Moderated by: David Low, Executive Director, Victoria Park BIA.
Panelist book: Building the Cycling City: The Dutch Blueprint for Urban Vitality by Melissa Bruntlett and Chris Bruntlett (Island Press)
June 11 at noon
Is technology always helpful? Does it at times hinder? How can we be more mindful in employing technology that leads to a more sustainable future?
Led by: Kwangyul Choi, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Metropolitan Growth + Change in the Haskayne School of Business and the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape at the University of Calgary; and Andrew Sedor, Business Development Coordinator, Transportation Strategy, City of Calgary.
More: read article in FOLD by Kwangyul Choi.
Panelist book: Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia by Anthony Townsend (WW Norton)
June 13 at noon
What barriers exist to more equitable use of transit? How can we design more inclusive transportation infrastructure? Who can afford to live in a transit-accessible neighbourhood?
Led by: Carla Cote, Issue Strategist Calgary Neighbourhoods, City of Calgary; and Theresa Goldstein, Manager of Community Planning-North, City of Calgary.
Panelist book: Palaces for the People by Eric Klinenberg (Penguin Random House)
All books were selected by the d.talks Recommends committee as part of an ongoing project to call attention to thoughtful books written about architecture and design in the city. The publications are available at Shelf Life Books.
The pop-up chats were made possible with the support of the Alberta Government, the City of Calgary and the School of Architecture Planning and Landscape at the University of Calgary.
d.talks Members visited the Esker Foundation to tour Among All These Tundras, an exhibition exploring considerations of land, language and sovereignty through the lens of artists from the circumpolar North. Led by Assistant Curator Elizabeth Diggon, the tour explored that which remains obscured and even “delicious sound”.
The title of the exhibition is taken from a poem by a Sami writer titled ‘My Home is in my Heart’. We’ll be holding a Placeholder conversation at the gallery in August to explore this exhibition and a connection to place. You can subscribe to our invitations here.
All These Tundras is up thru August 30th. Find visiting details here.
City Building Design Lab
616 Macleod Trail SE, Calgary
dates: May 23 - June 20, 2019
What does it mean to have a human connection to place? What’s the future of transportation in Calgary?
The ideas in the exhibition propose solutions that improve the human connection to place. Using the new Green Line Light Rail Transit (LRT) project in Calgary as a platform for new ideas, we asked artists, architects, designers, planners, engineers and students to help us to rethink the present and future of transportation.
As technology advances continue to transform mobility, the considerations of sustainable, economic, inclusive and accessible options for urban living are something not to be considered lightly. Public infrastructure and the systems that we create to facilitate movement within the urban realm are a design responsibility of human concern.
The ideas are each situated in Calgary and reveal a number of approaches to movement—from visionary ideas of provocation that project centuries into the future, to ideas that are more tactical and can be implemented with temporary means. They consider the human experience from different vantage points to include cognitive need, social inclusivity and physical access. They feature resilience in how movement might help a community to adapt to new social and economic contexts as well as to advancing technologies over time. Others question our connection to the land or reflect possibilities for living a lower carbon daily life.
The New Central Library was conceived as an intuitive and inclusive place. Designed by Snøhetta and Dialog, it houses more than 30 community meeting areas, space for children, for teens, and even a recording studio.
"As soon as you come in, there's a feeling of a forum or a great collection hall, a place where people from different groups can come together." [Snøhetta founding partner Craig Dykers quoted in Dezeen, November 2018.] Aaron Betsky echoes this sentiment by calling the library a community centre "of elegance and subdued grandeur.”
We couldn’t think of a better place in the city to have an important conversation about movement. An LRT line emerges from below grade at the corner, the train stop is footsteps away. The two-story glazed wall of the performance hall gives the audience a view of those passing by on the sidewalk and street. Activity is visible inside as well: two pedestrians stopped by the window, noticed the “movement” logo on the screen, and posed a few break dancing moves during the discussion. The connectivity is genuine.
Marianna Vaidman Stone is the Deputy Director of Gehl Institute, an organization focused on getting public life on the agenda of cities. They study the experience of public places and encourage cities to transform by making public life a driver for design, policy, and governance. Marianna joined Gehl Institute in April 2018. Prior to this, she served as Chief of Staff to New York City Council Member Daniel R. Garodnick, whose district covered some of New Yorks’ premier public spaces. She worked on the development of a zoning framework that’s expected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars for public realm projects in East Midtown. She currently serves as an Alternate Director on the public body charged with administering those funds. Before moving into public sector and advocacy work, Marianna was a commercial litigator at Debevoise & Plimpton, a major New York law firm.
Cowboy Smithx is an Award Winning filmmaker of Blackfoot Ancestry from the Piikani and Kainai tribes of Southern Alberta, Canada. Cowboy is the founder and curator of the highly acclaimed International Indigenous speaker series “REDx Talks." He also serves as the Artistic Director of the Iiniistsi Treaty Arts Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to activating the true spirit and intent of Treaty #7. Cowboy writes, directs and produces film works in documentary, narrative, music video and experimental. He is currently working in Indigenous education, Cultural consultation and Youth work around the world. Cowboy has been featured as a keynote presenter at over 150 conferences, symposiums and festivals across the globe. Cowboy facilitates dozens of interactive workshops for professionals, artists, youth and elders. Cowboy is also the founder of the Elk Shadows Performing Arts Clan and the Noirfoot School For Cinematic Arts.
Brigitte Shim, along with her partner, A. Howard Sutcliffe, are both principals in the design firm Shim-Sutcliffe Architects. Shim-Sutcliffe’s built work explores the integration and interrelated scales of architecture, landscape and furniture and fittings. To date, Shim and Sutcliffe have received fourteen Governor General’s Medals and Awards for Architecture from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and an American Institute of Architects National Honor Award along with many other professional accolades for their built work ranging from projects for non-profit groups to public and private clients. Brigitte Shim is a Professor at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto engaged in core design studios, advanced design studios as well as teaching courses in the History and Theory of Landscape Architecture. She was the Eero Saarinen Visiting Professor at Yale University’s School of Architecture (2014, 2010, 2005) and an invited visiting professor at the Ecole Polytechnique Federal de Lausanne, Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, the University of Auckland’s School of Architecture and Planning within the National Institute for Creative Arts and Industries and others. In 2013, she was the Somerville Visiting Lectureship at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design. She is a strong advocate for design excellence and has served on numerous international, national and local design juries including the 2007 Aga Khan Architecture Award Master jury and is currently serving on their Architecture Award Steering Committee. In January 2013, Brigitte Shim and her partner A. Howard Sutcliffe were both awarded the Order of Canada, “for their contributions as architects designing sophisticated structures that represent the best of Canadian design to the world.”
Nabeel Ramji represents an organization "Bricolage Calgary" that advocates for accessible design and Inclusion for All citizens in Calgary. He's consulted on the creation of RK Access, a service of Riddell Kurczaba focused on barrier-free design that aims to make architecture more accessible to all. As an Accessibility Infrastructure Specialist, Nabeel provides a user-based perspective on accessibility design reviews. He has been a citizen-at-large on the City of Calgary’s Advisory Committee on Accessibility for the past four years, and has served as a member on the Premier's Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities since September 2017. He received a Senate 150th Anniversary Medal at Parliament Hill for his efforts to heighten awareness for accessibility.
Amanda Kolson Hurley writes about architecture and urban issues. She is a Senior Editor at CityLab, the city-focused publication of The Atlantic. Her writing has appeared in Architect, Architectural Record, Landscape Architect, NextCity, Foreign Policy, The Times Literary Supplement, Wallpaper and The Washington Post among others. She was awarded the Sarah Booth Conroy Prize by the D.C. chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Her essay “Welcome to Disturbia,” on why Americans of the 1950s and ’60s thought the suburbs were making them sick, was one of the 10 most-read articles last year on Curbed (Vox Media). Her forthcoming book, titled Radical Suburbs, will be released in April. (Find it at Shelf Life.)
Don Mulligan was Director of Transportation Planning at The City of Calgary, for nine years, and is passionate about sustainable urban transportation. Don was the transportation lead for the 2009 Calgary Transportation Plan, was project sponsor for Calgary’s Cycling Strategy, Complete Streets Policy and Pedestrian Strategy. He played a key role in approvals for Calgary’s Peace Bridge and downtown cycle track network. Don was also strategic planning lead for the Green Line LRT project. Now retired, Don lives next to the LRT station in Kensington, one of Calgary’s most walkable communities.
Giovanna Borasi is an architect, editor, and curator. She joined the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in 2005 as Curator for Contemporary Architecture, and in 2014 she was appointed Chief Curator. Borasi’s research focuses on contemporary architecture discourse, with a particular attention to alternative ways of practicing and evaluating architecture and how environmental, political, and social issues influence today’s urbanism and built environment. Exhibitions and publications by Giovanna Borasi include What About Happiness on the Building Site? (2017); Besides, History: Go Hasegawa, Kersten Geers, David Van Severen (2017); The Other Architect (2015); Imperfect Health: The Medicalization of Architecture (2012); Journeys: How Travelling Fruit, Ideas, and Buildings Rearrange our Environment (2010); Sorry, Out of Gas: Architecture’s Response to the 1973 Oil Crisis (2007); and Environ(ne)ment: Approaches for Tomorrow (2006). Borasi studied architecture at the Politecnico di Milano, after which she worked as an editor for Lotus International (1998–2005) and Lotus Navigator (2000–2004), and was Deputy Editor in Chief of Abitare (2011–2013). Before joining the CCA, Borasi co-curated House Sweet Home, Different Ways to Live, Spazio Ventisette, Milan (2000), and collaborated on several exhibitions including Asfalto, Il carattere della città at the Milan Triennale (2003), and Notizie dall’Interno, the Italian Pavilion for the 9th Architecture Biennale in Venice (2004), both with Mirko Zardini. Borasi has written widely on contemporary architecture, and her work has appeared in publications such as ARCH+, 2G, Cartha, and PLOT. She has served on international juries and regularly speaks at symposia and conferences.
City Councillors Druh Farrell and Evan Woolley were in attendance. Councillor Farrell opened with remarks and a fitting challenge: empathy. We need to imagine a city that works for everyone.
One of the themes emerging from the discussion was the relationship between land use and mobility. The area of Calgary is 1,000 square kilometres (40km north to south and 25km east to west). When we envision how we move through the city, Amanda Kolson Hurley proposed, we think of our movement as a hub—like a bicycle wheel with spokes. Everything connects to the centre. Real-life movements are much messier, however, and might instead appear as a “pick-up-sticks” drawing (an idea Hurley credited to Shlomo Angel). This poses a challenge for movement: it’s easy to get downtown, but hard to cross town between two neighbourhoods.
As humans, social interaction and connectivity are key. Giovanna Borasi described a project by Cedric Price in the pre-internet 1970s that used a bus tour in the U.K. The bus, a traveling recording studio, networked conversations between university students at different universities. Don Mulligan reminded us that the social interaction on a freeway is typically limited to when there is a collision and you need to hop out of the vehicle to exchange insurance details. So let’s consider the impact of our infrastructure carefully. Cowboy Smithx reminds us that Calgary’s ancestral land at the confluence of the Bow and the Elbow Rivers has left us all as Treaty people, with an inherited role to support each other.
Brigitte Shim started her presentation with a world map illuminating all the cities. Zooming in, she brought attention to the overlooked back alley. The laneway is an opportunity to create more intensive use. What if you could live in a village in the middle of the city? In Toronto, the laneway is now considered as an opportunity to increase affordable housing.
The conversation moved from the relationship between public realm improvements, a possible side-effect of gentrification and disruptive technology—its hopes but also a cautionary note. Marianna Vaidman Stone, who had shown the rich human scale that took place in the transformation of Times Square (where 90% of people move on foot), offered that disruptive technology is a tool, not a solution. It’s equally important to consider the unintended consequences of data collection, mobility networks, and the control of the technology.
A final question provoked the unusual experience of someone motoring through an urban space in a wheelchair. Nabeel Ramji was asked if he felt like a pedestrian. He replied that he did not, but that was also part of the reason why he is working to call attention to better design that addresses universal access. If Statistics Canada reports one in five Canadians over the age of 15 experience a disability that influences their daily life (2017), this challenge is not for an isolated population.
One of our largest take-aways is that the work has only begun. Giovanna Borasi, in her introductory remarks, showed a slide of a quote from Gordon Matta-Clark that’s in the CCA archives. It reads: “Here is what we have to offer you in its most elaborate form—confusion guided by a clear sense of purpose.” With that, we hope that you might join us to continue to explore the topic of movement with more depth.
Continuing the Conversation
We ended the evening with an announcement of the Movement Call for Ideas. We’ll be developing an exhibition and some smaller activities to connect with the winning ideas throughout 2019. You can participate in an open call for your ideas on movement in your neighbourhood. Send an image or a poem or story that describes movement to you. Submissions received by April 30th will be considered for an exhibition in the spring.
The Panelist book is called The Civic City in a Nomadic World by Charles Landry, and can be found at Shelf Life Books. It explores contemporary considerations of movement, and brings a planning lens to things that are “softer” than hard infrastructure, things that consider how people mix, and how they connect within the hard structures we’ve built. Read a review of the book here.
This event was supported by: The City of Calgary, The Government of Alberta and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. A special thanks to Urban Systems for hosting the Meet the Panelists Member’s Reception.
Thanks to the week’s in-kind support of Sidewalk Citizen Bakery, Brewsters, Luke’s, Vine Arts, Empire Foods, Rosso Coffee and Little Rock Printing.
A generous thank you to the d.talks individual and organizational members, without whom the event would have not happened! And finally, thanks to our volunteers, those who sport the black and white badges at the event make everything so easy.
Critical Writing Workshop
Eleven writers in Alberta ventured with us on a journey to develop critical writing. There were three workshops, mentorships, and connections with writers, critics, editors and local publishers.
Made possible with support from the Rozsa Foundation, Write On. was an opportunity to take the time, to develop capacities and to encourage the attention so that we can articulate the meaning and experience of urban form.
September 15 led by Aaron Betsky
Situation: seated at a long, family style table
Topic: unpacking the writing landscape—What’s a lead? Where do you start? What kind of research? What do book publishers and editors look for?
Walking Tour: the National Music Centre
Reading Assignment: a long list of recommended writings by international critics
October 20 led by Diana Sherlock
Situation: seated in a circle
Topic: writing with a point—exploring writing style, approach and voice
Working Session: developing a pitch
Assignment: bring your writing and an article of someone you admire
November 10 led by Alexandra Lange
Situation: seated in a semi-circle in a community room at the New Central Library, facing Alexandra on a very large screen
Topic: how to read a building
Self-guided tour: visit the New Central Library before and following the session making notes of observations
Assignment: read “What Should A Museum Be?” by Ada Louise Huxtable (May 1968) and a reading from Writing About Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities, by Alexandra Lange.
November 10 thru January 30 - Mentorships
Writers were partnered with a mentor. The mentors included: University faculty member Victoria Baster, filmmaker Donna Brunsdale, curator Naomi Potter, art critic Nancy Tousley, researcher Susanne Schindler, critic/curator Mimi Zeiger.
November 30 Reception
Situation: standing and seated, mingling at a loft
Topic: fostering a writing culture
Activity: guests included editors and publishers from Luma Quarterly, Site Magazine, Canadian Architect, Sprawl and our d.talks publication, The Fold. Critics, curators, and editors met the writers in casual conversation.
Assignment: a sheet of paper, with some text, for display
Aaron Betsky is a critic, curator, and President of the School of Architecture at Taliesin. He is the author of more than a dozen books on art, architecture and design including: Architecture Matters, Landscrapers: Building with the Land, Architecture Must Burn: Manifestos for the Future of Architecture, False Flat: Why Dutch Design is so Good, Building Sex: Men, Women, Architecture and the Construction of Sexuality, and Queer Space: Architecture and Same-Sex Desire. He was the former director of the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Netherlands Architecture Institute, and the curator of Architecture, Design and Digital Projects at the SFMOMA. He directed the 11th Exhibition of the Venice Architecture Biennale.
Diana Sherlock is a Canadian independent curator, writer and educator whose projects create opportunities for contemporary artists to produce new work in response to specific collections, contexts, histories and cultures of display. She has published over 80 texts in gallery catalogues and contemporary art journals internationally including Canadian Art, BorderCrossings, CMagazine, FUSE, Blackflash, Ceramics Art and Perception, .dpi Feminist Journal of Art and Digital Culture and The Calgary Herald. Sherlock is Editor of Rita McKeough: Works, a monograph about Canadian artist Rita McKeough’s performances and installations, forthcoming in the fall of 2018.
Alexandra Lange is the architecture critic for Curbed and author of The Design of Childhood: How the Material World Shapes Independent Kids (Bloomsbury, June 2018). She has written for Architect, Domus, Dwell, and Metropolis, as well as New York Magazine, the New Yorker,and the New York Times. She has taught design criticism at the School of Visual Arts and New York University. She was a 2014 Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Victoria Baster is a faculty member in the Department of Art at the University of Lethbridge where she introduces the Architecture & Design NOW and Art NOW series of public presentations by invited speakers. She is also an independent curator and was co-curator of Lethbridge Modern: aspects of architectural modernism in Lethbridge from 1945-1970, organized by the Southern Alberta Art Gallery.
Donna Brunsdale is an artist and filmmaker. She is currently finishing a feature film titled Man Running, which she co-wrote and co-produced with Gary Burns. Their previous project was a documentary titled Flexie! All The Same And All Different, a film about the landscape paintings of Levine Flexhaug. Her films have been exhibited and screened in galleries and festivals across Canada and abroad. She is also a founding member of Calgary Cinematheque, which she continues to serve as Vice-President.
Naomi Potter is the Director/Curator of Esker Foundation in Calgary. She has worked to develop solo projects at Esker Foundation with Peter von Tiesenhausen, Cedric Bomford, Cynthia Girard, Mia Feuer, Colleen Heslin, and Etienne Zack, Over the last sixteen years she developed numerous curatorial, artist, and residency projects in Canada and Central and Eastern Europe. She’s a former curator of Walter Phillips Gallery at The Banff Centre and a guest of both the Australian Arts Council and British Council International Curatorial Visit programs.
Nancy Tousley is a Senior Art Critic and Independent Curator. The former art critic of the Calgary Herald, she is a contributing writer to Canadian Art, Border Crossings, and other art magazines. Her essays, reviews and interviews have appeared in The Print Collector’s Newsletter, Artscanada, Vanguard, and Parachutte and in more than 40 public art gallery and museum catalogues and books. Her work as a curator has been commissioned by art institutions across Canada. In 2011, she was awarded a Governor General’s Award in Media and Visual Arts for outstanding contribution to contemporary art in Canada.
Susanne Schindler is an architect and urbanist focused on the intersection of policy and design in housing. She recently completed a PhD at ETH Zurich titled The Housing that Model Cities Built: Context, Community, and Capital in New York City, 1966-1976. Susanne was lead researcher and co-curator of House Housing at Columbia University’s Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture, and writes for Urban Omnibus.
Mimi Zeiger is a Los Angeles-based critic, editor, and curator. Her work is situated at the intersection architecture and media cultures. She is co-curator of the US Pavilion for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. She has covered art, architecture, urbanism, and design for a number of publications including The New York Times, Domus, Architectural Review, and Architect, where she is a contributing editor. She is a regular opinion columnist for Dezeen and former West Coast Editor of The ArchitectsNewspaper. Zeiger is the 2015 recipient of the Bradford Williams Medal for excellence in writing about landscape architecture.
Thanks to a special partnership with Site, whose editors created opportunities for the writers to publish and produce their work. We look forward to future endeavours together.
The first multi-storey car park opened in 1901 in central London. 55 years later, The Bay Parkade (now known as the Bow Parkade) was built in response to Calgary’s booming economy and became the first parkade constructed in Alberta. The opening of this parkade was perceived as a symbol of progress and was celebrated by Calgarians, according to Glenbow Archives.
CPA lot 54 Centennial Parkade, where the conversation took place, was built in late 1990s and designed by Gibbs Gage Architects. With a capacity for 1,007 parking stalls, the parkade resembles the character of an old warehouse, perhaps with a hint of Postmodernism, that spans a full block with an arcade along 9th Avenue SW. There are 11,986 off-street parking stalls in Calgary, and fifty-five per cent of them are located downtown. These stalls occupy a space equivalent to 9.5 arenas the size of Bell Centre in Montreal, which seats 21,288 people.
Moderator: Aaron Betsky is a critic, curator, and President of the School of Architecture at Taliesin. He is the author of more than a dozen books on art, architecture and design including: Architecture Matters, Landscrapers: Building with the Land, Architecture Must Burn: Manifestos for the Future of Architecture, False Flat: Why Dutch Design is so Good, Building Sex: Men, Women, Architecture and the Construction of Sexuality, and Queer Space: Architecture and Same-Sex Desire. He was the former director of the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Netherlands Architecture Institute, and the curator of Architecture, Design and Digital Projects at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He directed the 11th Exhibition of the Venice Architecture Biennale.
Ali McMillan is the Planning and Development Director for the Bridgeland Riverside Community Association. Passionate about collaborative, grassroots community building, Ali employs small opportunities to build strong community interaction within the neighbourhood. Winning a micro-grant from The City of Calgary, she led the design of a tactical intersection intervention—where 20 volunteers painted an array of colourful polkadots on the street as a traffic-calming measure. She’s working on a Masterplan of a large institutional district in her community, working on a project to reclaim a brownfield site under an overpass, and revitalizing the Village Pizza in Bridgeland, in addition to continuing other tactical urbanism projects.
Alkarim Devani, along with Maj Devani, is the Founder of RNDSQR, a residential and commercial development company that turns inner-city spaces into multi-use mid-rise residences. A young company, their projects have captured international attention: The Grow residence breaking ground now and designed by MoDA with a switchback rooftop garden, has received a Canadian Architect Award, an American Architectural Prize and and an Azure Award for Design Excellence. Continuing their presence in the urban framework, the company has launched RNDSQR LIFE, that will see over 400 purpose built multifamily/mixed use units between here and Winnipeg with ambitions on changing the rental landscape. A subscription-based model, it will be design-driven, sustainable and uphold community-based living at its core.
Judy MacDougall is an Architect and Principal in the Calgary office of Kasian Architecture. She brings a track record of over 20 years in developing complex buildings that focus on impactful, human-centred experiences. As Kasian’s fervent Senior Living sector leader, Judy naturally displays a devotion to enhancing people’s lives by creating communities and inspiring quality of life through the built environment. Judy’s passion for designing an environmentally sound world has affirmed her place as a leader in sustainable design. Specializing in community-based, institutional, and commercial mixed-use projects, Judy ignites her team to create spaces that facilitate learning, personal development, and social engagement.
Reachel Knight is the Coordinator of Business Strategy for the Calgary Parking Authority, an organization that fulfills the City of Calgary parking mandates and implements parking policies by managing on and off-site public parking facilities. She is in charge of managing nearly 40 parking facilities as well as creating development strategies and negotiating joint venture project agreements for the CPA and the City. Reachel managed the pre-construction of CPA’s first joint venture project that converted a surface parking lot into a strata development with a residential condominium and public parkade. She is currently developing a revised Land Asset Strategy to address current development trends in Downtown Calgary and working on the new mixed-use parkade in East Village.
Thom Mahler is the Manager, Urban Strategy with the City of Calgary where he is responsible for leading projects in strategic areas of the City particularly in the City Centre and its priority Main Streets. He has previously served in various managerial roles in the City’s planning department where he was responsible for long term planning, development review and land use applications primarily in Calgary’s established inner city communities and Centre City areas. In addition to his 15 years of experience with the City of Calgary, he has also practiced in Southwestern Ontario and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. He is currently serving as Vice President of the Council for Canadian Urbanism.
The City Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra, who is currently on a Calgary Parking Authority board, talked about the importance of parking in our social, cultural and environmental lives. He raised questions about what post-parking might look like and how technology will affect the way we park today.
The panel discussion explored the feasibility of multi-functional parking structures that can also be utilized in different ways and maybe even offer significant public space. On average, a car in Calgary is estimated to be idle 95% of the time. Are there more efficient ways of accommodating that idle time? How important will it be in the future to have an available parking stall for it? Car storage (and parking as a primary land use) is something that many cities are starting to look at.
Audience questions brought forward some of the reasons why parking is so central to our lives: we may find parking unattractive and unfitting in urban design, yet we want to be able to park our cars close to our destination when we drive. Parking is influenced by the concept of accessibility and desire for the comfort and private space of an automobile. And yet, someone asked, is parking inclusive? In order to park a car you have to first have the means to buy one.
How can we transform exciting parking spaces, so they are integrated with the rest of built environment and add value to the communities? It is essential to raise questions about the importance of parking in one’s life, challenge views on public transport, and signify the value of alternative modes of transportation.
Continuing the Conversation
We encouraged everyone to participate in a PARK(ing) Day that took place on Friday, September 21, on Centre Street between Calgary Tower and a Bow Building. We hope this conversation will inspire more interest in convening around some parklets in downtown Calgary.
The Panelist book is called Rethinking A Lot: The Design and Culture of Parking by Eran Ben-Joseph, and can be found at Shelf Life Books. It describes a historical apprise of parking and shows a different vision on parking future: how multi-use for parking lots can be created so that they are aesthetically pleasing, and environmentally and architecturally responsible.
This event was support by:
First Calgary Financial
City of Calgary
Thanks to the Calgary Parking Authority for providing us the space for the event, Evolution AV for their audio support and Sidewalk Citizen Bakery and Rosso Coffee Roasters for the delicious food and treats.
As well, a big thank you to the d.talks individual and organizational members, without whom the event would have not happened! And finally, our volunteers, who made event run smoothly, and guests, who through their provoking questions and comments made this event a memorable one!
The discussion took place at one of the oldest buildings on Stampede Park, the Victorian Pavilion. It was built in 1919 as a judging and sales arena and stabling facilities for cattle. Throughout the years, the Pavilion was utilized in many ways, varying from accommodating 600 head of cattle in the adjacent barns, to hosting numerous agricultural events (including Calgary Stampede and 4-H), auctions, boxing and wrestling competitions. Between 1952 and 1989 a Canadian Wrestling promotion used the Pavilion for Stampede Wrestling, making it one the most memorable events. Many of the former promotion’s alumni became some of the most popular stars of the World Wrestling Federation.
Michelle Reid is the Cultural Landscape Lead with The City of Calgary. She conserves, manages and celebrates some of Calgary’s most significant historic landscapes, ranging from a formal Victorian garden, a turn of a century pleasure ground, a brutalist/expressionist landscape, as well as indigenous visioning, camp, and buffalo kill sites. Her work has been recognized at the local, provincial, and national level by landscape architecture, planning and heritage organizations. She is a member of CSLA, CIP, ICOMOS Canada, and the Alliance for the Preservation of Historic Landscapes.
Iman Bukhari is the founder and CEO of Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation, a non-profit millennial organization that focuses on creating cultural understanding about social and racial issues. She has worked on national campaigns, arts movements and educational projects that shed light on race-related issues, success, and solutions. Iman has a Master's in Multimedia Communications and has worked in the not-for-profit sector for 10+ years. Iman recently received the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation's 30 under 30 award.
Dan Jacobson is an Associate Professor and the director of the IMMERSE research group based in the Department of Geography at the University of Calgary. Specializing in providing accessibility to blind and vision impaired individuals, the research focuses upon how individuals understand, communicate and represent spatial environments. These are explored through multi-sensory computer interfaces that include sound and touch. He was the chair of the International Cartographic Association Commission on maps and graphics for the blind 2007-2011. Throughout, he has collaborated with blind pedestrians, cyclists…and sailors.
Alana Bartol is an artist from Halifax, who now resides in Calgary and teaches at Alberta College of Art+Design. Through performance, research-based, and community embedded practices, her site-responsive works propose walking and divination as ways of understanding across places, species, and bodies. Bartol’s work has been screened and presented across various galleries and institutions in Canada, including PlugIn Institute for Contemporary Art, Access Gallery, Art Gallery of Windsor and Group Intervention Vidéo, as well as in Romania, Germany, Mexico and the United States. Among some interesting projects that Alana has done is walk through the boundaries of the City of Calgary as well as the Orphan Well Adoption Agency (OWAA) that she founded in 2003. OWAA is dedicated to finding caretakers for orphan oil and gas wells in Alberta.
MODERATED BY: Ciara Mckeown is a public art consultant and curator in Calgary. She’s the Public Art Curator for Edmonton Arts Council’s Jasper Avenue Streetscape project and she’s been working in the field of public art for over a decade. Ciara is an Executive member, Board of Directors of Public Art Dialogue, an international organization devoted to public art and an affiliate of the College Art Association, and was recently an Advisor with the Creative City Network of Canada to establish the country’s first national public art network. She has written for Public Art Review and Americans for the Arts. Her essay about the City of Calgary’s Watershed+ has just been published in the University of Calgary’s Institute for the Humanities Water in the West 2018 anthology.
Councillor Woolley made an introduction to the issue of public art and the role it plays in citizens’ lives. Should public art be object- or time-based? Stationary or temporary? How does public art help us navigate through cities, and how can it enrich the experience of both citizens and new travellers?
Panelists agreed that to foster the conversation about public art and enhance its value to the city, we need to start engaging communities and local artists in the process of creating art and its maintenance. It is necessary that public art is associated with a specific neighbourhood or city, so it does not only serve as an art object that is complementary to the city’s surroundings, but also act as a location point in citizen’s mind map when traveling through the city.
Further, panelists discussed the importance of making public art of both forms: accessible and ambiguous. Should art be easy to understand or be vague, which form will be more effective at stimulating the conversation and raising questions?
Continuing the Conversation:
Our book recommendation team selected Undermining by Lucy Lippard to accompany this talk. It can be found at Shelf Life Books . The author places her home state of New Mexico under a critical lens, starting from gravel pits and moving through themes such as fracking, land art, adobe buildings, and Indigenous land rights. The book touches on place and culture, considering many different viewpoints. It engages reader on a visual level through 200+ photographs that one can found in the book.
Let’s continue to explore our relationship with public art in our neighbourhoods and speak with friends and neighbours we don’t yet know about the civic vision public art signifies. If you have an idea you’d like to share, reach out to us. If that idea might grow into an article, you can connect with the editors at FOLD.
If you picked up an “X marks the spot” at the event, please don’t forget to tag and send your spot to #publicartsite. This installation was produced by Sans façon.
We’re powered by our individual and organizational members. Thanks to Kasian Architecture, HOK, International Avenue BIA, RNDSQR, Urban Systems and DIRTT. Without their support, we could do none of this work.
And hats off to the volunteers of d.talks who roll up their sleeves and make vision happen.
The screening and discussion took place at the John Dutton Theatre at the Central Public Library. The theatre was named after John Edgar Dutton who led the Calgary Public Library from 1979 - 1991. A believer in the library as “part of the economic, cultural and recreational life of a successful city,” Dutton’s quote from the 1990s is possibly even more true today as libraries embrace a role as community hub.
Integral is a mathematical term, but it also infers complete, lacking nothing, and indispensable. When does space transition from matter to experience? Taking a residence designed around a complex curve, the conversation explored design from the perspectives of music and math. We sought to understand intangibles such as quality and emotional spark.
Integral Man is a documentary film about a private residence for James Stewart, a mathematician and musician. The residence was designed by Shim-Sutcliffe Architects. Filmmaker Joseph Clement is a trained landscape architect and this film captures the human relationship with the environment.
James Stewart was a former McMaster University professor of mathematics who authored the seminal university-level calculus textbooks starting in the 1980s. He was also a violinist with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra.
Shim-Sutcliff Architects is a Canadian practice started by Bridgitte Shim and Howard Sutcliff in 1994 and recognized with a dozen Governor General Medals for Architecture. The residence is unusual for its L-shaped curvilinear form punctuated by glazing with fins of white oak.
discussion following the film:
Carey van der Zalm is an Intern Architect AAA, and a National award winning creative director for the Canadian architecture magazine The Site Magazine. Carey has made it her practice to integrate architecture with healing. Trained in traditional Algonquin Shamanic healing, her work focuses on the integration of the simultaneous physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual healing of the built form and the body. She currently lives in Edmonton, Alberta and works at Manasc Isaac Architects.
Dr. Pratim Sengupta is the Research Chair of STEM Education and Associate Professor of Learning Sciences at University of Calgary’s Werklund School of Education. His research, teaching and creative practice are at the intersections of designing open source programming languages and public spaces for modeling complex systems. He is the recipient of a CAREER Award from the US National Science Foundation. Two of his open source installations include: the Exchange Archive for MoMA in New York (April - May 2014) and Hack the Flock, a permanent installation at Telus SPARK from January 2018 and ongoing.
Eileen Kosasih is inspired by aesthetics and stories. She is a violinist, conductor, curator and music teacher. Her diverse musical journey includes study in Calgary, Boston, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, New York City, and Los Angeles. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Music (the violin), a Masters in orchestral conducting, and a piano diploma. She has reinvented herself from being a punk to founding an orchestra...the Calgary Arts Orchestra, a two-year project that explored new Canadian music and fostered forward-thinking, local talent. She explores artistic, business, and musical territories with her constant companion, her dog BB and is often busking and traveling with BB.
Continuing the Conversation:
This event will hopefully start conversations around how intangible aspects of place are measured. We hope it seeds a way to build stronger connection to the things that you care about in your neighbourhood.
The book we recommend (and that we gave to the panelists) is: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. First released in 1974, we found the chapter on “quality” highly compelling. You can find it on the d.talks shelf at Shelf Life Books.
Thanks to our organizational supporters: DIRTT, HOK Calgary, Urban Systems and the merchants of International Avenue BRZ and RNDSQR. We couldn't put on our events without you.
And hats off to the volunteers of d.talks who roll up their sleeves and make vision happen.
The Scandinavian Centre is a mid-century Modernist building in Calgary’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. Completed in 1960, it was designed by Joseph K. English, and features an angular, articulated roof on the corner lot. From the interior, the dramatic rise of the wood-panelled ceiling arch is an expressive gesture that gives the hall a sense of warmth. J.K. English studied architecture at the University of Manitoba and established a practice in Alberta in the 1950s. His other buildings include churches in Edmonton and Calgary, a County Office in Didsbury and a ski lodge in Kananaskis.
Alison Karim-McSwiney is the Executive Director of the International Avenue BRZ and behind the business district’s vision for a transit, pedestrian and bicycle-friendly corridor along a major strip of retail and food businesses along 17 Avenue SE. This Transitway Project started in 2004 with Charrettes designed by University of Calgary EVDS students. The early Charrettes were recognized with a Congress of New Urbanism Charter Award. The project’s evolution has included pop-up street activation with benches and tree planting, a Corridor Study, an Arts Space, and finally, an approved plan for a rapid bus line along International Avenue.
Antonio Gómez-Palacio is a founding partner of DIALOG and committed to creating healthy places, where people thrive – through dialogue. Trained as an architect and an urban planner, Antonio’s work is characterized by an engaging and collaborative process, which delivers healthier, flourishing, complete communities. Integrating community wellbeing as part of a city-building conversation has become a hallmark of Antonio’s projects. In the last few years, on the higher-order transit agenda alone, Antonio has led the planning frameworks for LRT projects in Mississauga, Brampton, Edmonton, and Hamilton.
Fabiola MacIntyre is the driving force behind Calgary’s largest infrastructure project, the Green Line LRT—building the foundation for the future of Calgary. Fabiola started as a structural engineer in the consulting industry and then moved to the City of Calgary in 2008 as a project manager for Transportation Infrastructure.
Josh White is the General Manager of Development for Dream Unlimited, where he manages the planning and approvals process for Calgary Lands. Dream is one of Canada’s leading real estate companies, with approximately $14 billion of assets under management in North America and Europe. Previously Josh worked as Senior Policy Advisor for Mayor Naheed Nenshi from 2010-2015, where he participated in programs as the RouteAhead 30 Year Strategic Plan for Transit in Calgary, the Transforming Planning Program, and the Growth Management Framework.
Moderator: Todd Hirsch joined ATB Financial in May 2007 as its Chief Economist. As the bank’s top economic expert, he tracks and analyzes developments in Alberta’s and North America’s economy. Todd spends most of his time crisscrossing the province, sharing these economic insights at over 150 presentations a year. Todd provides economic commentary for CBC, CTV, The Globe and Mail, The Business News Network and the BBC and other local, national and international news outlets. In 2011, he was recognized as one of Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People by Alberta Venture magazine.
When talking about connectivity, we must ask: connected to what? And to whom? The discussion explored where and how transit fits into our communities. When you get off the bus or the train, what do you want to do and where do you want to be?
Citizen engagement and how to manage competing views to challenges was questioned, resulting in a discussion on seeking the consensus and status quo. However, to actually advance the conversation, we need to push the envelope, says Gomez Palacio, we need to have conversations that embrace complexity, where everyone learns something.
A discussion on the role of planning and how to respond to the challenges of anticipating the future ensued. For instance, what happens to public transit when autonomous vehicles emerge? Asked how to respond to criticisms of the Green Line possibly being a 20th Century system and the question of actually how much transit will be needed in the future, the panelists explored the ideas behind a bigger solution, one that includes many choices for accessibility and mobility. One observation was that when managing the traffic of numerous autonomous vehicles, some are starting to think about grouping the vehicles and even taking them underground. Might that sound a bit like transit, one asked?
Community wellbeing was a large part of the discussion. How do we create destinations that connect people? One of the points made was that the diversity of voices matters. Who participates, who owns the idea, who stewards it along, this is vital. Individuals and community members—it is they who embody the future of the idea and allow it to take form.
Continuing the Conversation:
This event will hopefully seed more discussion around the complex and integrated role of transit and placemaking. If you like what you heard, we encourage you to get involved in your community association to make a difference in your neighbourhood.
The book we recommend (and that we gave to the panelists) is: Traffic by Paul Josephson. You can find it on the d.talks shelf at Shelf Life Books.
And powered by some extra special in-kind help from:
The City of Calgary (including the very special @calgarytransit bus “to and from” the event)
Shelf Life Books
Little Rock Printing
Thanks to our amazing volunteers.
And thanks to our members whose individual support keep our programming moving along. A special thanks to Frank Architecture, Hindle Architects, Nyhoff Architecture, and HOK for their continued support.
Calgary’s first brick and steel edifice, the Grand Theatre was built in 1912 and housed many of the city’s first artistic companies. The theatre has had many incarnations as a concert hall, Odeon movie theatre, indoor driving range and currently as a contemporary performing arts space and restaurant. In the early 2000s the theatre faced demolition, however Calgary philanthropist Jackie Flanagan donated a significant amount to the renovation and restoration project and Theatre Junction was able to raise the rest of the sum to elevate the building to what it is today.
Mimi Zeiger, Loudpaper
Alex Link, Alberta College of Art and Design
Tom Babin, Frostbike. Shifter.info
Moderated by Philip Vandermay, Spectacle Bureau of Architecture and Urbanism
d.talks launched FOLD, an online publication dedicated to creating an open forum for public conversation to expand ideas about the built environment. FOLD aims to generate opportunities for citizens to connect more deeply with their city and to recognize the value and responsibility of design.
Panelists Mimi Zeiger, Alex Link and Tom Babin discussed the role of critical thought in todays media landscape and the importance of personal experience, evidence and argument in formulating constructive dialogue on the built environment.
Mimi Zeiger works at the intersection of architecture and media cultures, she is a Los Angeles based critic, editor and curator. She’s written about art, architecture, urbanism and design for publications including The New York Times, Domus, Architectural Review, Architecture magazine. She is a regular opinion columnist for Dezeen. Her published books include New Museums, Tiny Houses, Micro Green: Tiny Houses in Nature and Tiny houses in the city. She is also founder of loud paper an influential digital publication and zine dedicated to increasing the volume of architectural discourse. She teaches at the Art Center College of Design, and has taught at the School of Visual Art, Art Center, Parsons New School of Design, California College of the Arts and at the Southern California Institute of Architecture. In advance of the d.talks event, Mimi facilitated a three day critical writing workshop with ten selected participants in the East Village.
Tom Babin is the author of Frostbike: The Joy, Pain and Numbness of Winter Cycling. He is also a journalist, blogger and chief cyclist at Shifter. Tom is the former features editor of the Calgary Herald and former editor of Swerve magazine. He’s written for the Los Angeles Times, National Post and Explore and wrote a popular cycling column in the Calgary Herald for many years. Currently Tom works as Manager of Global Content at Travel Alberta.
Alex Link is the Chair of Critical and Creative Studies at the Alberta College of Art and Design. He’s co-authored several titles for Image Comics. His research practice focuses on the analysis and history of comics and graphic novels. Alex also researches science fiction, gothic and detective fiction with an emphasis on theories of spatiality.
Philip Vandermay (moderator) is an accomplished architect and co-founder of the architecture and urbanism practice: Spectacle with Jesse Andjelic.
CONTINUING THE CONVERSATION
The panelist book for this event was Oxymoron & Pleonasm: Conversations on American Critical and Projective Theory of Architecture.
Visit Shelf Life Books and the d.talks recommends shelf for the panelist book and to read up on d.talks themes.
Visit our newly launched website FOLD. You can add your definition of “Border” at #dtailswhatis or visit FOLD’s contact page to see how you might subscribe, submit a story idea, or volunteer. We look forward to hearing from you!
EVENT SUPPORTERS AND FRIENDS
The event was produced in association with Theatre Junction Grand .
The d.talks pilot critical writing workshop with Mimi Zeiger was supported in part by a Calgary Arts Development Small Experiments grant.
Technical Support provided by AV Evolution.
Printing courtesy of Little Rock Printing.
Thank you to our individual members and volunteers, dtalks memberships are available here.
Special thanks to our panelists Tom Babin, Alex Link, Mimi Zeiger and moderator Philip Vandermay.
Two local designers have created “pods” or reading stations to preview a surprise. The installation is situated inside the lobby of Theatre Junction Grand (608 1 St SW, Calgary.) Each designer has reflected upon the the notion of “fold”, shaping an object with a unique experience.
The two pod designers are:
Plywood Arch: by Atelier JCGF
statement: Design is a thorough exercise from which we too often only see the outside, the finished product. Design at the scale of a city, of architecture, is among us, within us and cannot be ignored. We experience it inside out. Take a plane, turn it on itself. By the bend, sheet material becomes structure, flexibility translates to rigidity, space awakens. Then take it back, fold it flat again, take it away. This is my take on the theme of the fold, my way to attract you to discover the inside of design.
Atelier JCGF is a small-scale workshop that focuses on experiential installations, sensible architecture and minimalist dwellings. Started in Calgary, it recently relocated to Montréal.
Geometric Canvas Booth: by Jennifer Bassett
Statement: This pod investigates how the fold can envelope a private space. Created from light weight materials, this modular design can be transported to many locations to initiate a private viewing experience within the public realm.
Jennifer Bassett is a recent graduate of the University of Calgary’s Architecture program. Jennifer is interested in executing the design and build of ranging scales, from lighting installations to community art exhibitions to architectural renovations. With focus on material study and investigation, she sets out to bridge architectural method with artistic form. The result of her experimentation strives to create functional objects that hybridize innovation and aesthetic with playfulness and material minimalism.
Visit the installation through June 5th, 2017.
Attend the launch event if you can.
Lindsay Fischer - Installation Project Manager
Jennifer Bassett - Designer
Atelier JCGF - Designer
The John Dutton Theatre built in 1963, is housed in the city’s Central Library. At its inception, the Central Library boasted technological features such as a record lending library and a coin operated Xerox photocopier. It also housed an art gallery operated by the Glenbow Foundation. In 2018 the central library branch will re-open in the East Village as the New Central Library, designed by Snohetta Architects of Oslo, Norway.
Julie Guimond, Leader Environmental Education, City of Calgary
Cynthia Watson, Chief Evolution Officer, Vivo for Healthier Generations
Kris Fox, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture, University of Calgary
Evan Dickenson, Associate, Torys LLP
Heather Cowie, Manager East Region Recreation at The City of Calgary
Jeremy Klaszus, Journalist (moderator)
Playgrounds offer learning opportunities for children, incite spontaneous play and physical activity, foster an appreciation of natural environments, and in turn inspire environmental stewardship. Well-considered spaces, material and structure choices can help to create economical solutions to the physical, social and ecological well-being of communities.
d.talks hosted an event to discuss approaches that encourage play and how to design spaces that rouse the imagination where no matter what age we would all want to linger and play. Panellists were Cynthia Watson, Kris Fox, Julie Guimond, Evan Dickinson and Heather Cowie.
Cynthia Watson, is the CEO of Vivo, an organization that proposes solutions to respond to the sedentary behaviour of children. Vivo is a recreation centre and also conducts research. Current findings suggest that encouraging spontaneous active play in natural environments can promote an understanding of the natural world, promote activity and foster an ability for children to evaluate risk. Natural play spaces and mobile adventure playgrounds can encourage social, physical and environmental literacy.
Kris Fox is an Assistant Professor in Landscape Architecture, from the University of Calgary. Collaborating with students and colleagues with expertise in child development, medicine, and public health, Kris created the Outdoor Playbook, an online community resource and “How-To Guidebook” that offers research and best practices for school grounds. Blending together the perspectives of landscape architecture, sustainable design, economic and phasing strategies, child development, injury prevention and outdoor educational opportunities, the guidebook emphasizes the use of inexpensive and sustainable materials and construction methods.
Julie Guimond is the Leader for Environmental Education with Calgary Parks. This past year The City piloted the Mobile Adventure Playground. Unlike traditional playgrounds, the adventure playground promotes risky and unstructured play, giving children the tools to build their own park. The pilot provides children with the building blocks for their playground, such as PVC pipes, tools, rope, tires, and fabric. The mobile playgrounds offer an opportunity to design, explore and collaborate with other children.
Evan Dickinson is a Senior Associate with Torys LLP and shared his knowledge on the standards applicable to children's play spaces and equipment. While play spaces are often “safe” in terms of rules and standards as set out by regulatory bodies, they are often at the loss of innovative and stimulating spaces that benefit the development of children. The prevalence of similar components and structures throughout parks in Canada may point to CSA standards favouring certain manufacturers in the market. Regulation, in the name of safety, might actually be hindering the potential of outdoor educational opportunities and benefits to the community.
CONTINUING THE CONVERSATION
The panelist book for this event was Savage Park: A Meditation on Play, Space, and Risk for Americans Who Are Nervous, Distracted, and Afraid to Die by Amy Fusselman. Visit Shelf Life Books and the d.talks recommends shelf to read up on d.talks themes.
Become an advocate for your neighbourhood parks and playgrounds and consult the Outdoor Playbook for ideas and tools to create sustainable, low cost and enriching outdoor play spaces.
Follow Calgary’s Mobile Adventure Playground Starting in May, see the schedule for the roving park here.
Attend the International Play Association Conference coming to Calgary in September.
Read more about the Baltic Street Adventure Playground.
EVENT SUPPORTERS AND FRIENDS
Printing courtesy of Little Rock Printing.
Special thanks to Mayor Naheed Nenshi for opening remarks and to our delightful panellists Julie Guimond, Evan Dickinson, Cynthia Watson, Kris Fox, Heather Cowie and Jeremy Klaszus for moderating the event.
Words by Tammy Primeau
Festival Hall is a music hall designed by renowned Canadian architect Peter Cardew. The building is a jewel on a residential street in the neighbourhood of Inglewood connecting the present with the past. The ceiling trusses defining the open hall are reclaimed timber from an abandoned mill in Washington State. Salvaged beams from the Alberta Block were turned into woodcuts throughout and the wooden drink rail was salvaged from a Safeway store in Manitoba.
The discussion explored the notion of intention, and the way in which our cities are designed and experienced. Berlin-based artist Larissa Fassler revealed a fresh approach to public infrastructure. Her paintings and installations, on exhibition at Esker Foundation, capture movement through train stations, busy intersections, and even public places known as non-places. Architect Jimenez Lai has forged a practice with an exploration of character and story. Using the mediums of the graphic novel and cartoonish curves in built form, his work provokes notions of how we build and how the narrative of place transpires. Alberta-based landscape architect Doug Carlyle provided a landing for exploring the physical characteristics of the public realm. Together the panel offered an opportunity to explore how individuals interpret our urban surroundings and how people interact as a result of design. Does place have language?
Jimenez Lai - Bureau Spectacular
Larissa Fassler - artist
Doug Carlyle - Dialog
moderated by: Jan Kroman - Rockcliff Pierzchajlo Kroman
Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit
Continue the Conversation
Visit Shelf Life Books to find books around the topic of public realm and narrative of place. Visit the exhibition at Esker Foundation. Follow the great work of Bureau Spectacular. Find new ways of looking at spaces in your neighbourhood.
The St. Louis Hotel is an adaptive re-use of a century-old hotel into an event space. Renovated by Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, Nyhoff Architects' design transforms the 1914 brick building with a sensitivity celebrating the patina of the former structure. Century-old timber flooring is exposed as ceilings. Lightwells and a fortified structure flood the main hall with natural light. Windows are re-purposed as screens. A renewed sign of the former Cecil Hotel stands at the end of the main hall, radiating a soft hue of pink fluorescent glow.
The panel brought ideas on multi-unit housing with the aim of exploring the ingredients of dense communities: from public space and private amenity to inclusiveness and diversity. Recognizing that living in close proximity with neighbours isn’t for everyone, the panel provoked notions of how density is experienced. What does density look like? How does it feel? The panelists pulled and tugged at notions of density: from Johanna Hurme’s illustrations of her former hometown in Finland and multi-family design alternatives, to Kevin Harrison’s distillation of the courtyard, starting with Calgary’s Connaught Gardens built in 1993, and finally to Urban Planner Mary Axworthy’s unveiling of the policies and goals around the blueprint for sustainable growth called Plan It Calgary. We realized that we needed another measurement for density. Dollars-per-square-foot or people-per-square-kilometre can’t capture how a neighbourhood feels. One of the ideas presented was measuring space in handshakes-per-square-foot.
Johanna Hurme - 5468796 Architecture
Mary Axworthy - Axworthy International Consulting
Kevin Harrison - Sturgess Architecture
moderated by: Dustin Couzens - MODA Architecture
The economy of our local iconic fabric
July 20 - August 6th, 2016
This exhibition expands upon initial ideas developed in two earlier d.talks discussions on heritage architecture. The events were named ICONOMY and rooted in a classic phrase from urbanist Jane Jacobs who summarized the significance of existing buildings writing that, “Old ideas can sometimes come from new buildings, but new ideas must come from old buildings.” Jacobs argued that the overhead of new construction can only be carried by chain stores, banks and highly-subsidized businesses. By the very nature of their business model, entrepreneurial, start-up, or mom and pop enterprises are usually situated in older buildings.
Living in a young city undergoing constant development, we sought to draw attention to the quiet architectural “icons” in Calgary. Brutalist and Modernist buildings are sometimes under-recognized as heritage compared to their century-old Sandstone cousins. They’re slightly too young to be considered “old”.
Seeking to highlight the intangible economic benefits of the Brutalist Education Centre Building in our first event, and later the Modernist Lacey Court Building, the two d.talks ICONOMY events posed an architectural prompt: What to do with the existing building while addressing pressures for growth? Three emerging practices lead a discussion on each building, reframing the challenge of “densification” into “possibility”.
Interestingly, both buildings were shaped by local firm Stevenson Raines. The Education Centre, a five-story cantilevered concrete structure, was designed by Stevenson Raines Barrett Hutton Seton and Partners in 1968. The modest single story Lacey Court was designed by J. Stevenson and Associates in 1956 and served as the firm’s offices. An addition housed the National Film Board of Canada at one time, complete with a theatre.
Revealing their process, the six local architecture and design practices represent a diversity of approaches to adaptive re-use. From light touch to mild intervention to dramatic alteration, each practice unveils architectural exploration and the complexity of decisions one must confront when deciding the significance of the existing. We hope this exhibition conveys the type of questions required of an architectural insertion and the opportunity to imagine possibility for growth without the loss of what our ancestors have laid before.
Architects / Designers:
bioi. is a multi-faceted design and build practice founded in 2011 by Jordan Allen and Ryan Trefz emerging from an industry-wide lack of care, craft and innovation. (bioi.co)
FAAS is a studio of designers, builders and placemakers and co-founded by James Andalis and Michael Farrar in 2011. (faasarch.com)
MoDA (Modern office of Design and Architecture) is a critical Architectural and Interior Design studio founded by principals Dustin Couzens and Ben Klumper in 2013. (moda-architecture.ca)
Nyhoff Architecture, established in 2009 by Kevin and Mairi Nyhoff, is a design focused office with a range of adaptive reuse, arts and community based projects. (nyhoff.ca)
Founded in 2013, SPECTACLE is an internationally oriented office working across the fields of architecture, urbanism, landscape and object design, which seeks opportunities to critically examine and influence our cities. (spectacle-bureau.com)
Studio North is a design+build practice founded in 2013 by Matthew Kennedy and Mark Erickson, connecting design with building and craft. (studionorth.ca)
The Eric Harvie Theatre is nested within the Glenbow Museum. Founded by Eric Harvie, the Glenbow Foundation was established in 1954, and in 1966 the Harvie family donated their collection of art, artifacts, and historical documents to the people of Alberta. Harvie was an avid collector of material related to the history of Western Canada. His collected artifacts tell the story of Aboriginal peoples, frontier exploration and the development of western life. Harvie established a huge collection, including artifacts from West Africa, Asia, South America and islands in the Pacific. Harvie’s contributions to the cultural landscape of Canada include the Glenbow Museum, the Banff School of Fine Arts, the Luxton Museum, the Calgary Zoo, Heritage Park, and Confederation Square and Arts Complex in Charlottetown, P.E.I. The Devonian Foundation was created to honour his legacy, by his son, Donald Harvie.
What does the future of the suburb look like? Often viewed as the antithesis of good urban design, what opportunities and qualities exist in the modern day suburb that can allow us to retrofit communities into places we would all like them to be. How do we enhance the human, social and environmental qualities within these places? D.talks explored the role of transit, infrastructure, densification, repurposed buildings, and shared space in a discussion of a future vision for the suburb.
In collaboration with the Active Neigbourhoods Canada project d.talks visited a suburban neighbourhood and collected quantitative, qualitative and visual artifacts that were provided to two artists, Keving Jesuino and Irena Konsuwan to use as inspiration for developing an installation in the lobby of the event space.
The resulting installation Y(Our) Suburb was a large format interactive piece where event attendees could contribute their ideas for vibrant communities by drawing directly on the piece. The project highlighted the importance of community engagement in planning and the idea that neighbourhoods should be measured not simply by geography, but by the people and interactions that happened within them.
Jyoti Gondek, Westman Centre for Real Estate Studies, University of Calgary
Grace Liu, Brookfield Residential
Jamal Ramjohn, The City of Calgary
Susanne Schinler, Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture, Columbia University
June Williamson, Spitzer School of Architecture, City College of New York (CUNY)
Moderator: Jim Brown, CBC
Panellists offered a holistic view of the ways in which suburban communities could be renewed by considering social, ecological, and economic factors as well as architecture and urban design.
June Williamson, visited from the Spitzer School of Architecture, City College of New York (CUNY). She is the author of Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs.
The challenge in cities for the next 50 years will be tempering sprawl development patterns such as low density, car dependence and use separated communities. Retrofitting existing sprawl into more urban and sustainable places, and designing suburban futures is achievable when alternative models are injected into sprawling communities. Opportunities for retrofitting include; biking infrastructure, public housing, district energy systems, suburban agriculture, cottage industries, intergenerational co-housing, re-using big boxes, restoring wetlands and creeks, improving connectivity, diversifying housing choice and price and sub-hub transit systems.
Susanne Schinler, of the Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture, Columbia University presented two projects on housing policy and design. She is co-editor of The Art of Inequality: Architecture, Housing and Real Estate is a multi-year project that considers the conflict between architecture, real estate and housing and explores what is possible in a profit driven environment. The 36 episodes of this project hosted on-line use various forms of media, collections of ordinary artifacts, advertisements, and images of lived in apartments to present the idea that economic inequality is highly linked to other social disparities, particularly the provision of housing. The project aim is to set the terms for understanding the question“How might anyone with a vested interest in architectural design and a commitment to addressing our time’s most pressing social concerns reconcile the two, if at all?”
Possible alternatives were presented using models of cooperative housing, housing that is managed at cost and is not-for-profit. Projects were introduced that emphasize mixed income, ethnicities, ages and uses. One example cited was the United Housing Foundation that created 23 cooperative housing projects in New York City, mainly designed by architects Abraham Kazan and Herman Jessor. Dwelling units were complimented by food stores, nursery schools, a credit union and various social and civic organizations.
The Kalkbreite project by Mueller Sigrist is a 40% commercial, 60% residential project that was rebuilt on top of a streetcar depot in Zurich, Switzerland. The city leases land to the cooperative, keeping the parcels free of developers. The cooperative offers unique living arrangements with some communal spaces and as a result energy use is 1/3 of what is typically consumed by the average person in Western Europe. There is a public park on top of the garage, a bed and breakfast, shared studios, a communal kitchen and residents can rent rooms for their guests. This project was developed out of an architectural competition after a housing cooperative articulated their goals.
Jamal Ramjohn is the Manager of Community Planning at the City of Calgary. Jamal contextualized the last 65 years of suburban growth in Calgary, calling these places “a great palette of suburban 1st generation developments, dying for retrofit.” He tracked the evolution of the suburban development since the early 1970s. He noted key differences as suburban housing typologies evolved, the increase in housing sizes, raised basements, curvilinear streets (loops and lollipops), decreasing family sizes with increasing housing sizes, enclave patterns of development with limited permeability from one home to the next, to schools and to amenities. Since 2011, however there is an attempt to remedy some of these issues by re-introducing the grid structure, increasing permeability, creating taller homes with front garages and different rear lanes.
Grace Liu, is head of Strategic Initiatives for Brookfield Residential. She emphasized the builders attempt to incorporate a liveability index into new developments and their consideration of quality of life, safety and design in neighbourhoods. She is looking to harmonize the intersection of the market, policy and design.
Jyoti Gondek is the Director at the Westman Centre for Real Estate Studies at the University of Calgary. An Urban Sociologist, Jyoti looks at demographics, maps and populations to understand the make up and morphology of urban neighbourhoods. She is an expert in contemporary land development and housing issues in North America. As a case study she highlighted the dramatic population growth in the periphery of Calgary. NE Calgary has the greatest population of visible minorities and is the central community for Indo Canadians. Currently the building industry is booming as multigenerational families are purchasing neighbouring lots as well as purchasing old acreages and farm sites in the district of Rockyview, where multigenerational families live together. Unlike typical urban development patterns in Calgary, in the northeast quadrant of the city the defining characteristic is often the number of people living in a unit, whereas in more other areas development patterns are characterized by the number of units per acre.
Continuing the Conversation
Visit Shelf Life Books and the d.talks recommends shelf to read up on neighbourhoods and other d.talks themes.
Become an advocate for your neighbourhoods and the neighbourhoods you would like to see improved.
Thank you to Platform Design for the beautiful design of our invitation and event poster.
DATE: Tuesday March 8th, 2016
The d.talks Craft edition was presented at the John Dutton theatre, a multipurpose theatre space located at the Calgary Public Library’s central location.
Panelists explored the definition of craft and how the art of making is related to place making. The ability to think with ones hands and contribute to local culture was demonstrated by chefs, blacksmiths, a woolen mill owner, glass blowers, jewelers, coffee roasters, distillers, brewers, designers, factory owners, potters, and museum curators.
FEATURED ALBERTA CRAFTERS
Bee Kingdom Glass - Ryan Fairweather, Tim Belliveau & Phillip Bandura
Tony Bloom - Sculptor, hand-held to monumental work in metal clay and mixed-media
Firebrand Glass Studio- Julie Reimer & Tyler Rock
Scott Hardy - Silver and Goldsmith, founding member Traditional Cowboy Arts Association
Shona Rae - Jeweler & Sculptor, fairytale, folklore, myth and ancient religion inspired work
FEATURED LOCAL FOOD & BEVERAGE
Aaron Nelson, Medalta Museum and Ceramic Arts Facility
Japheth Howard, The Canadian Museum of Making
Studio Collective, University of Calgary faculty of Environmental Design
Maddy Purves-Smith, Custom Woolen Mills Ltd.
Jennifer Dobbin, The Dobbin Group
Five panelists discussed the importance of physical literacy and craft. Small craft centered businesses have the ability to be nimble and offer a resilient business model during challenging economic times. Not only are these businesses important for local economies, they also contribute to the cultural realm. They offer alternative education models and have the ability to produce unique goods due to their adaptable tools, skill sets and business models.
Craftspeople face the challenge of affordable space. However, they have the potential to contribute to the vibrancy of the city and street life as their markets and mobile storefronts surface. They are ideal candidates as tenants in historic buildings, or in scenarios of adaptive re-use.
Medalta Pottery located in Medicine Hat, Alberta produces ceramic wares and clay through the social enterprise Plainsman Clays for artists across Canada. It is a national historic site and an industrial heritage museum. Medalta hosts artist residencies, has a gallery space and teaches math, science, art and social sciences using ceramic processes to school aged children.
Custom Woolen Mills is a family owned and operated mill that uses turn of the century machinery to produce wools, yarns, bedding, socks, blankets and garments. Using wool sourced from farmers in Western Canada, all processing is completed at the mill including washing, dyeing, spinning, knitting and quilting.
Studio Collective, a group of second year Architecture students from the University of Calgary Architecture program, developed a project called “Makers Block”. The building is focused on craft offering a research centre, communal workshops and tools and a market. Studio spaces are housed at the top of the building while fabrication spaces are located at the bottom. The market space is located at street level to foster a connection between passers-by and the producers.
The Dobbin Group owns and manages commercial properties in Kensington and attempts to foster community engagement through its properties.
The Canadian Museum of Making was founded by Ian MacGregor in 2001. Ian began collecting machinery and tools that were built and used in Canada, Britain and the U.S. in order to be a source of information about man made machines and their history. In collaboration with Japheth Howard, a skilled blacksmith, the machines are restored to working order and on display at the museum as well as displayed virtually on the website.
CONTINUING THE CONVERSATION
Visit Shelf Life Books and the d.talks recommends shelf to read up on craft and other d.talks themes.
Watch craft theorist Glenn Adamson define “craft”
Find ways to support the incorporation of space for “making” in our existing buildings or become and advocate for the value of creative practice as an alternative economy in the city.
EVENT SUPPORTERS AND FRIENDS
We would like to thank the Alberta Craft Council (www.albertacraft.ab.ca) for help in curating local craft practices to be featured in the video installation.
This event was supported with the help of The Calgary Foundation / The First Calgary Stepping Stones Grant (http://www.thecalgaryfoundation.org/grants-awards/grassroots-grants/stepping-stones) and the support of our members.
Thank you to local food and beverage presenters for demonstrating their production process and for the delicious food and drink.