From Theory into Practice: Thinking Critically About Architecture, History and Theory

This is the theme of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada’s 36th Annual Conference, which takes place from May 20-24, 2009 at Ryerson University in Toronto.


Co-chaired by George Thomas Kapelos of Ryerson University and Sharon Vattay, the conference will coincide with the annual Festival of Architecture and Design, and specifically with Doors Open Toronto (May 23-24) – an annual event that celebrates the city’s architecture by providing free access to buildings that are not generally open to the public. Attendees will be able to take advantage of the opportunity to visit architectural sites throughout the city on their own over the course of Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday.


As a learned society devoted to the examination of the role of the built environment in Canadian society, the SSAC’s strength comes from the diversity of research and activity undertaken by its members in the study of architecture in Canada. As the sole national society whose focus of interest is Canada’s built environment in all its manifestations, the annual meeting provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and knowledge by members from all regions of the country and from the range of disciplines that make up our membership. Therefore, on behalf of the conference organizers and members of the Conference Scientific Committee we invite all members of the Society to Ryerson University in May 2009 for what we hope will be an exciting, stimulating and engaging conference.


The goal of the 2009 conference is to stimulate debate and discussion on the role of history and theory in the making of architecture in Canada. Recognizing that the SSAC is an organization with a broad and multi-disciplinary constituency, the theme presents a challenge to the participants to consider the study of architecture from a number of different perspectives, for example:


* Why do we study architecture? Is it to inform architectural practice? Is it to ensure that our architectural resources are protected for the future? Is it to engage with an ongoing debate about the making and remaking of culture?

* How has the expanded field of knowledge and interdisciplinary studies changed the way we look at issues in architecture and heritage?

* What are the assumptions and presuppositions that we bring to the study of architecture?

* Whether our interests lie in the vast array of subjects our members are exploring in their work, such as architectural and/or urban history, regionalism, sustainability, modernism, architectural practice, heritage, preservation, or landscape, the 2009 conference theme will encourage its membership to promote the quality of thought that we are bringing to the subject of the study of architecture in Canada.


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