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Who Builds the City? Symposium


October 21, 2014
by Canadian Architect

In what ways can architectural institutions – publishers, museums, schools and government – play a role in and have a positive effect on the development of their cities? How can we work together in partnership to develop stronger and more effective cultures of architecture and urbanism in Canadian cities?

Led by President Sheldon Levy, Ryerson University, located in the heart of downtown Toronto, has spent the last decade considering and acting on the role of the University as City-Builder. During President Levy’s tenure, the University has carried out a number of significant projects that underscore the ability of a major institution to impact the form and vitality of its surroundings. The Mattamy Athletic Centre, housed in historic Maple Leaf Gardens, points to the importance of maintaining our heritage as a living and evolving asset; the Ryerson Image Centre positions the University as a major force in the cultural scene in the city; and the new Student Learning Centre, currently under construction, brings first-rate architecture to the revitalization of Yonge Street.

Now, as Dr. Levy enters his last year as President, this symposium looks to reconsider the possibilities for universities and other institutions to play a significant critical role in guiding the construction of our urban environments.

Taking place on Friday and Saturday, November 7-8, 2014, this symposium looks at three critical ways a city can be improved through the reinforcing presence of critical institutions: by creating a more robust network of information exchange and idea generation amongst people directly engaged in city-building projects (architects, urbanists, developers, activists, etc); by producing more opportunities for innovative and critical practice (especially outside of explicit market influence); and finally, by direct engagement both in the physical construction of the city and in the evolution of development policy.

The symposium will address these modes of improvement through four panel discussions:

Session One: What can architecture publishing do?
Session Two: What can an architecture museum do?
Session Three: What can a school do?
Session Four: What can the government do?

While the symposium invites speakers from around the world to share their best practices, the backdrop of the event is Toronto, with a focus on how institutions could help foster a better more critical attitude towards the development of Canada’s largest city.

This conference is a collaboration between the Office of the President and the Department of Architectural Science at Ryerson University; co-organized with Brendan Cormier, Curator of 20th and 21st Century Design at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

A keynote address kicks off the symposium on Friday, November 7, 2014 from 6:00-8:00pm at the Glenn Gould Studio. A full-day session follows on Saturday, November 8, 2014 from 9:00am to 5:00pm at the TIFF Bell Light Box in the Paul & Leah Atkinson Family Cinema (Cinema 4).

This is a free public event; but registration is required.

For more information, please visit www.arch.ryerson.ca/all/who-builds-the-city-symposium/ or contact Nene Brode at nene.brode@ryerson.ca or 416.979.5000 x2894.

The conference is eligible for OAA Learning Hours.


who builds the city?
who builds the city?


Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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