RAIC/OAA Festival of Architecture kicks off today in Ottawa

About 1,000 practitioners and experts in architecture, urban design, and place-making will be in Ottawa this week for the RAIC/OAA Festival of Architecture.

The four-day conference, hosted by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA), features presenters and speakers from across Canada, the United States, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand.

The theme of the festival is Architecture 150, with many of the 90 sessions focusing on heritage preservation, Indigenous architecture and design, projects in the national capital and the sustainability and livability of future buildings and spaces. Among the highlights will be the May 25 global announcement of the shortlist for the 2017 edition of the Moriyama RAIC International Prize. The $100,000 prize is awarded to any architect in the world for a project that is transformative and expresses values of inclusivity and social justice.

Keynote speakers include:

  • Jeanne Gang — One of the most prominent architects in the world and founder of Studio Gang with offices in Chicago and New York, Jeanne Gang is advancing the possibilities of architecture and design in the 21st century — including their ability to make a positive social and environmental impact.
  • Edward Mazria — Founder of Architecture 2030, Edward Mazria is an internationally recognized architect, author, researcher, and educator. He has redefined the role of architecture, planning, design, and building through his seminal research into the sustainability, resilience, energy consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions of the built environment.
  • Johan van Lierop — He is a Principal at Studio Libeskind in New York, designers of the National Holocaust Monument under construction in Ottawa. Johan van Lierop has led many of the Studio’s high-profile projects and was the project architect for Crystals, a retail and public space complex in Las Vegas.
  • Douglas Cardinal — A Canadian architect of international renown, Douglas Cardinal’s many projects include the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, QC and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. His work is characterized by flowing lines and influenced by his Aboriginal heritage.

Festival sessions highlighting the nation’s capital will discuss the transformation of the Bank of Montreal and the Wellington Building into facilities for the House of Commons; the Canadian War Museum; the renovation of the Bank of Canada Building, and the long-term vision and plan for Ottawa’s parliamentary and judicial precincts.

Indigenous architecture and design will be addressed at the Festival through continuing education sessions on subjects such as the history of Indigenous architecture and housing as a tool for reconciliation with Indigenous people. These will be followed by the RAIC’s first ever International Indigenous Architecture and Design Symposium on May 27 at the Wabano Centre. It promises to be an exceptional event with international and Canadian Indigenous architects, allied design and building professionals, students, and interns.

This annual Festival of Architecture last took place in Ottawa in 2000, and is back in the capital to be part of Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations. This year also marks the RAIC’s 110th anniversary of its founding as Canada’s national architecture association.

A unique physical marker, designed by intern architects from Ontario, will signal events and locations at the Festival. The colourful cube constructed with a matrix of frames was the winning entry in a competition for interns. It will be displayed in front of the Shaw Centre on the Rideau Canal Esplanade during the event.

The Festival program includes an awards gala on May 26, and recognition of RAIC members and distinguished laypersons who have made outstanding contributions to the profession at the RAIC College of Fellows ceremony on May 25.

Representatives from the American Institute of Architects, the New Zealand Institute of Architects, the Australian Institute of Architects, and the Federación de Colegios de Arquitectos de la República Mexicana will be participating in Festival events.

Visit festival2017.raic.org for the full schedule and program, and for details on speakers and sessions.