Goethe-Institut Toronto and OCADU present the Ecology . Design . Synergy speaker series

The Goethe-Institut Toronto in cooperation the Faculty of Design at OCAD University (OCADU) and the MaRS Centre, present a speaker series as part of Ecology.Design.Synergy: Green Architecture & New Ideas from Germany & Canada. The series will launch with Provocative Visioning: The Artist/Designer as Eco-Provocateur, bringing together the remarkable creative explorations of Berlin-based Friedrich von Borries and Ontario architect Philip Beesley, with a presentation of their work and ensuing conversation at 6:00pm at OCADU on Thursday, October 7, 2010.

Curated by OCADU Faculty of Design Acting Dean Doreen Balabanoff in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut, this series will explore a range of architectural and design practices that are transforming our understanding of “sustainability” within the built environment. This evening showcases two outstanding Venice Biennale (Architecture) participants: von Borries curated the German presentation in 2008, and Beesley’s project, Hylozoic Ground, is Canada’s representative at the Biennale this year.


Friedrich von Borries runs Projektbüro Friedrich von Borries in Berlin, a company developing urban development concepts, architectural installations and exhibitions. In 2003, with fellow architect Matthias Böttger, he set up “raumtaktik” (spatial tactics), a collaboration investigating space and spatial intervention. Interested in the means of production of space, and the cultural, economic and political parameters that determine the shape of architecture and urban development, they produced a series of exhibitions, installations and publications which challenge conventional thinking. Globalization, migration, economic transformation, commercialization, the event character of space, the activation of urban space – these are the underlying conditions explored in their dynamic and provocative team work. In 2008, von Borries was named Germany’s curator and commissioner for the Venice Architecture Biennale. Currently, von Borries is Professor of Design Theory at the University of Fine Arts of Hamburg.

Toronto architect Philip Beesley of Beesley Architects, Prix de Rome winner, teaches at the University of Waterloo where he also co-directs the Integrated Centre for Visualization, Design and Manufacturing (ICVDM). The research conducted by Beesley at the ICVDM concerns textile lattices in architecture and focuses particularly on interlinked mesh structures, lightweight materials, and offset and assembly systems. His works are inspired by the organic world and traditional weaving techniques. They are, however, created using sophisticated visualization tools, digital technologies for graphic design, and devices allowing rapid prototyping. Beesley’s project Hylozoic Ground is currently on site in Venice as Canada’s entry at the 12th International Architecture Biennale.