Architecture matters … immensely

I consider it as quite an honour to be entrusted with the role of president of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) for the coming year. As the leading voice of architecture in Canada, the RAIC has been doing great work, for just over a century, in building awareness and appreciation of the contribution of architecture to the physical and cultural well-being of Canada.

Through its awards programs, such as the RAIC Awards of Excellence, the Urban Design Awards, the RAIC Gold Medal and the Governor General’s Medals, the RAIC celebrates the richness and diversity of architecture in Canada. Through its practice support services, such as the publication of the Canadian Handbook of Practice, the development of contract documents, and the development and delivery of Continued Education courses, the RAIC supports architects in achieving excellence.

For more about our mission and values, visit our web-site at www.raic.org.

As for affirming that “Architecture matters”, this is a message that will be heard more and more. This message is timely and it’s important for everyone to understand how the quality of architecture is a key ingredient of the overall quality of life of Canadians and of our society.

Architecture matters, of course, because of the need for environmentally sustainable construction, which we are now becoming more and more acutely aware of. The design and construction of buildings are rapidly evolving as we aim to reduce their ecological footprint and their energy consumption, and to create healthy indoor environments. The RAIC has adopted the 2030 Challenge, with its goal of producing carbon-neutral buildings, and we have recently launched a Wiki site with information about how to achieve this.

Architecture matters because of the need for functional buildings, which positively support the human activities they shelter. Hospitals must be healing environments, schools must help the learning processes, public buildings must represent our democratic institutions, housing must be adapted to our lifestyles.

Architecture matters because, beyond the practical considerations of functionality and comfort, it can provide us with both useful and pleasant buildings and cities, and it ultimately affects both our individual and collective wellbeing.

It’s not only the architecture of large commercial and institutional buildings that matters. The architecture of each and every building matters, as even the smaller buildings play an important role as part of the environment we live in and, combined together, form the fabric of our towns and cities.

Architecture matters, immensely, because it is the means of creating beautiful living environments that lift the spirits and can be a source of joy in our daily lives.

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