Canadian Architect

Feature

OAA/RAIC Conference and Festival of Architecture

June 1, 2003
by Canadian Architect

Over 1,600 architects converged in Toronto on May 7-10 for the OAA/RAIC Conference and Festival of Architecture, which took place at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel and Conference Centre.

During the four-day conference, keynote speakers, Elaine Dundon, MBA, founder and chief strategist of The Innovation Group Consulting Inc. spoke to the theme Innovation… Breaking New Ground while Rhys Phillips, architectural critic, spoke about advocacy.

Elaine Dundon challenged conference delegates to go beyond the boundaries of their “comfort levels”

During the four-day conference, keynote speakers, Elaine Dundon, MBA, founder and chief strategist of The Innovation Group Consulting Inc. spoke to the theme Innovation… Breaking New Ground while Rhys Phillips, architectural critic, spoke about advocacy.

During her keynote speech, Elaine Dundon challenged the conference delegates to go beyond the boundaries of their “comfort level” to begin the journey into innovative thinking and learning.

“The world has gone through massive change and most of us need to catch up. Most of us still haven’t adapted our business processes to reflect these changes. When faced with new ideas or approaches, many of us say “that won’t work”, “that’s not the way we do things in our industry” or “we’ve tried that before” or “we’ve never tried that before”

Ms. Dundon stated that everyone needs to realize that the world has become more competitive and that others are breaking the rules, finding new ways to compete and doing so aggressively to differentiate themselves from similar companies, offering similar products and services, in a similar way, at similar prices.

“In order to compete in this “surplus society”, we need to identify a unique point of difference — what are we offering our clients that is unique and better?” said Ms. Dundon.

Ms. Dundon said that firms need to let go of the way things have always been done and integrate these five key strategies:

1) Identify a unique point of difference

2) Communicate this unique point of difference to the marketplace

3) Make it easy for your clients

4) Pick up the pace

5) Create magnetworks, a network which Ms. Dundon defines as so strong, it will attract more people interested in the network.

“Ordinary customer service isn’t good enough anymore — it will not differentiate your firm in the surplus society.

For the complete speech, visit www.raic.org

The RAIC and the Architects Are Important to Canada

Judy Sgro, York West MP and Chair of the Prime Minister’s Caucus Task Force on Urban Issues, delivered a speech during the RAIC 2003 Awards of Excellence ceremony highlighting the important role of the RAIC, and its members, in the development of the social and professional foundation of Canada.

“Awards ceremonies like this one this evening underscore the importance of the professionalism and the innovative thinking of its (RAIC) members. The men and women we are recognizing tonight exemplify the spirit of architectural excellence”, said Ms. Sgro.

“The work that you do in partnership with governments and the private sector is all about nation building. The role that Minister Goodale and I play is to facilitate and strengthen those relations. What we want as a Government and as Members of Parliament is the same as what all Canadians want — a successful, competitive Canada — recognized around the world for our expertise, our compassion and our generosity. Together we can build a nation that we can be proud of today, for our future and for the future of our children and grandchildren.”

Volunteer Contributors Wanted

The RAIC is looking for volunteer contributors for Update, its newsletter that appears in the Canadian Architect publication four times per year: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. It is mailed across Canada to all architects and industry related professionals and its articles are about issues relating to the profession. The RAIC Editorial Committee establishes the topics for each issue., Authors vary, and may include RAIC Board members, staff or architects at large.

The RAIC’s newsletter Update needs volunteer writers/contributors for the following issues:

Summer Issue — Theme: Urban Design

Copy Deadline: June 20, 2003

Fall Issue —

Theme: Continuing Education and Reciprocity

Copy Deadline: October 15, 2003

If you are interested in contributing to the RAIC newsletter as a writer, please contact the Newsletter Editor, Marc Bourgeois, at mbourgeois@raic.org or 613.241.3600.

Architectural Critic Rhys Phillips, Hon. FRAIC, Argues for an End to the Conspiracy of Silence

Upon receiving honorary fellowship into the RAIC College of Fellows, architectural critic Rhys Phillips, Hon. FRAIC, called on architects across Canada to end their silence, apathy and neglect that characterize the public discourse on architecture.

“I am seeking not to prescribe rules for architectural design”, said Mr. Phillips. “Rather I am arguing for an end to the silence, apathy, and neglect that characterize our public discourse on architecture. To do so, will require an active political intervention, not just of a profession, but of a collective force of individuals that are engaged and united by a shared understanding of the importance of meaningful architecture and city building.

During his keynote address, Mr. Phillips makes five key recommendations to meet these objectives. The following are excerpts from his speech:

First, the public sector must be made accountable. The current RAIC initiative to obtain action on establishing national, provincial, and city policies on architecture must be intensified. The use of honest architectural competitions — one of the most powerful underpinnings of Finland’s success — for major public institutions must become the norm not the exception. A code of design performance and excellence for all public institutions must be established along with accountability provisions for those who manage.”

Second, the right of citizens to define their built environment requires the revamping of the current ideology of the unrestricted rights of private sector development. Architects must speak out — as the Governor General, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson has started to do — for a social understanding that city building can and must be based on a covenant between public need and private rights as it is in Helsinki. It should not come as a surprise that city building is public enterprise.

Third, there is a pressing need to find ways to place architecture back onto the radar of our cultural discourse. The RAIC, the provincial associations, and individual architects must raise their voices against the media’s not so benign neglect. Perhaps the organization of a major Canadian Architectural Biennial to rival our film festivals is an appropriate initiative; perhaps it is time the RAIC established its own publication capability. Indeed, perhaps it is time the RAIC and provincial associations articulated a strong value-driven public opinion on architecture! The conspiracy of silence long honoured in the profession should end.

Fourth, architects, I believe, must take back the lead in urban planning. Twentieth century compartmentalization into urban planning, urban design, transportation engineering, and always last, architecture has been an unmitigated failure. Again, it is interesting to note that in Helsinki, planners are architects.

Finally, It is also time architects demanded recognition. Why has our Nation’s capital agonized for almost a decade over a sports museum but has no design, no architecture, not even a craft museum; and architecture as a prime cultural artefact has been ignored by the Museum of Civilization.

“I end on the interesting and telling note that in Finland, the term architect is not a legally protected term and public, sometimes raucous debate among architects — and the public — is spirited and frequent. I
f the first is a no-no in Canada, let us at least strive for the latter.”

For the complete speech, visit www.raic.org

Upcoming Events

2003

Fall

More continuing education opportunities including SDCB 301 — Building Envelope: Advanced Design and High Performance Envelopes as well as Field Review/General Review: The Field Functions of Contract Administration and the Architect.

Call for Submissions for the 2004 Governor General’s Medals In Architecture

Information regarding this prestigious award will be made available in the Fall. Those considering submitting their work should take advantage of the seasonal colours and sunlight to take photos.

2004

May

Ceremony of the Governor General’s Medals in Architecture.

June 16-19

Qubec City — Festival of Architecture

The Future of Architecture — A Collective Risk?

For more information on these events, awards or more, visit the RAIC Web site @ www.raic.org




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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