An Architecture of Civility: Ryerson Architecture Collaborative Exercise 2013

Just a week into 2013, while others are catching up with back-to-school errands, students at Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science (DAS) will already be back, hard at work, exploring the idea of civility in architecture.

Each DAS winter semester is inaugurated by the collaborative exercise which brings together graduate and undergraduate students, faculty and staff to address a topical issue in contemporary architecture. This year, participants are considering the role that architecture can play in nurturing a civil society. Throughout the week, architectural science students will be challenged to imagine, debate and present designs for community facilities which they believe can promote “an architecture of civility.” Students will be invited to respond to a number community voices, challenges and needs, engaging in a design process which will examine 20 civic hubs across the city of Toronto.

Students will be imagining how public amenities and facilities can be created to respond to basic needs, such as refuge, comfort, safety and security while also addressing the desire for social interaction and connectivity. The exercise calls on students to acknowledge the diversity of Toronto’s multicultural population by promoting equity and inclusion for all, regardless of means or ability. It is hoped the proposed architectural designs will become beacons of identity, “clean, well-lighted places” within a sea of urban activity. The designs will also make use of new technologies and be visionary in form, content and meaning.

In addition to having students collaborate, the organizers of the collaborative exercise are infusing the week with real world issues. Acting as “citizen architects,” students will be challenged to resolve often conflicting community agendas that fellow students will voice as representatives of the community. Through this week-long exercise, designs will evolve with support and advice from faculty, staff and invited guests from the architecture, engineering and construction professions.

This exercise will culminate in a celebration and exhibition of proposed schemes starting at 4:00pm on Friday, January 11. 2013. Following the collaborative exercise, students will select projects they believe best embody “an architecture of civility” and a discussion on the exercise and its outcomes will take place at an event to be scheduled later this winter at Ryerson University.

You may follow the event on tumlbr @ starting January 7, 2013.