Let's talk about...movement

Location: 

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.

image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

Panelists:

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 HomeDifferent 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.

image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

Event Summary

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.

image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

image: Jesus Martin Ruiz


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.

Event Supporters

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.

image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

Workshop: Write On.

Critical Writing Workshop

September-December 2018



image: Ximena Gonzalez

image: Ximena Gonzalez

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.

Workshops

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

image: Ximena Gonzalez

image: Ximena Gonzalez

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.

image: Ximena Gonzalez

image: Ximena Gonzalez

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

image: Maria Gogoleva

image: Maria Gogoleva


Workshop Leaders

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 ArtBorderCrossingsCMagazine, 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.


Workshop Mentors

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 TimesDomusArchitectural 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.

image: Maria Gogoleva

image: Maria Gogoleva

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.





Let's talk about...parking

Location: 

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.

image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

Panelists:

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.

image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

Event Summary

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.

image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

Event Supporters

This event was support by:

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!

image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

Let's talk about...Public Art

Location: 

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.

Image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

Image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

 

Panelists:

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.

image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

Event Summary:

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?

22IMG_5597_1.jpg

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.

Image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

Image: Jesus Martin Ruiz

Event Supporters:

Thanks to the support of the Calgary Stampede for helping to make this event possible. Also a shout out to Village Ice Cream

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. 

 

 

 

Let's talk about...Integral

Location: 

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.

Film Screening:

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.

 

image: Nicole Wolf

image: Nicole Wolf

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

 Event Supporters:

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. 

 

 

 

Let's talk about...neighbourhoods

Location

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.

Jesus Martin Ruiz / d.talks

Jesus Martin Ruiz / d.talks

Event Description

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.

Jesus Martin Ruiz / d.talks

Jesus Martin Ruiz / d.talks

Installation

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.

Jesus Martin Ruiz / d.talks

Jesus Martin Ruiz / d.talks

Panelists

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

Jesus Martin Ruiz / d.talks

Jesus Martin Ruiz / d.talks

Event Summary

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. 

Jesus Martin Ruiz / d.talks

Jesus Martin Ruiz / d.talks

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.

Event Support

This event was made possible with help from the Canada Council for the Arts, The Alberta Real Estate Foundation and to the City of Calgary Ward Community Events Fund.

Thank you to our research partners Active Neighbourhoods Canada and Sustainable Calgary.

Thank you to Brewsters Brewing Company, Rosso Coffee Roasters, Shelf Life Books, Sidewalk Citizen Bakery, Village Ice Cream and Vine Arts, for their generous in-kind support.

Thank you to Platform Design for the beautiful design of our invitation and event poster.