May 24 - May 27, 2017
247 Ricardo Street
Niagara-on-the-Lake , Ontario L0S 1J0
Time plays a crucial role in architecture. Typically, sites are designed with a specific function for a particular setting in a particular era. Nevertheless, architecture is not just built for the here and now, but also for the past and for the future; it can be commemorative, harkening back to a bygone era, or it can be visionary, seeking to communicate its message for centuries to come. Far from static, architecture also changes as time goes on, acquiring additions, alterations, new purposes, and new sets of meanings.
How do we connect these various temporal aspects? How do we valorize architecture’s past (s)? In what ways do we contribute our own contemporary knowledge and values to specific sites? In what ways are architecture and architectural knowledge protected for and transmitted to future generations? How are all of these simultaneously considered and what can we make of a multitude of layers and/or palimpsests?
As the venue for the 2017 Conference of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada, historic Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario is the ideal place to explore these ideas. Long inhabited, the site was first indigenous territory, then one of the first settlements established in Upper Canada. As such, it has played many roles over the years: it was Upper Canada’s first capital from 1792 to 1796; the town and its military post, Fort George, played a pivotal role in the War of 1812; it was a stop on the Underground Railroad; it has been host to an internationally renowned theatre festival, the Shaw Festival, since 1962; it is in the heart of Niagara’s rich agricultural and wine country; and in 2003, it was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada. With all of its different functions, the town and its surroundings are home to an impressive array of architectural gems that simultaneously call upon the full spectrum of architectural and heritage practices.
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