Building a History: Highlights of 20th-Century Canadian Architecture

This exhibition at the Triangle Gallery of Visual Arts in Calgary is drawn from the rich collections of the Canadian Architectural Archives at the University of Calgary and reflects the growing interest of architectural drawings as art form. The Canadian Architectural Archives is widely recognized as one of the few Canadian institutions dedicated to the preservation of architectural records and the promotion of architecture as fundamental to the definition of a culture and society.

Co-curated by Linda Fraser and Geoffrey Simmins, Building a History features a great diversity of drawings from a period in Canadian history in which Canadian architecture found its own voice, and the subjects cut across many different categorical boundaries. Private residences, urban development schemes, cultural institutions, office towers, monuments, and decorative elements are represented by a variety of plans, elevations, sections, axonometric and aerial perspectives. Drawings represent proposed, existing or theoretical structures demonstrating both the creative struggle, the design process, and the finished work on a variety of artistic media including pencil, ink, wash, watercolour and gouache – on Mylar, tracing paper, vellum, and print. The exhibition features – among other archival material – conceptual and final design drawings by many renowned Canadian architects: James C. Teague, Arthur Erickson, John B. Parkin, Jack Long, Ron Thom, Jeremy Sturgess, A.J. Diamond, A. Dale & Associates, and John & Patricia Patkau, to name just a few.  

This is a timely exhibition as Calgarians are becoming more aware of the city’s architectural legacy and are engaging in public discussions of what makes architecture great, thus contributing to a better understanding of Canadian cities.

At 1:00pm on Saturday, September 17, a curators’ talk and gallery tour will be given, followed by a panel debate that revolves around the theme of “Building A History – Architectural Drawing: An Object of Art or A Document?”

The following individuals will participate in the debate:  Dr. Branko Kolarevic, Chair of Integrated Design, Faculty of Environmental Design, University of Calgary; Bozenna Wisniewska, architect, independent curator and a senior instructor in the Faculty of Liberal Studies at the Alberta College of Art + Design; Victoria Baster, Department of Art, University of Lethbridge; and Jeffrey Spalding, Artistic Director, Triangle Gallery of Visual Arts. The event will be moderated by Dr. Geoffrey Simmins, Associate Dean of Research, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Calgary.

The exhibition runs until October 12, 2011. The Triangle Gallery of Visual Arts is located in Suite 104, 800 Macleod Trail SE, Calgary.

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