IDS seminars to interrogate the state (and future) of architecture

This year’s Interior Design Show (IDS) goes beyond interiors to include content that will be of interest to architects. Director of conference programming (and former Canadian Architect editor) Ian Chodikoff has curated a robust seminar series that’s more like a specialized conference than a typical trade show. The seminars are grouped to address four timely themes: Technology, Future Cities, Experience, and Talent & Diversity.IDS

Here are some of Canadian Architect editor Elsa Lam’s picks:

Thursday, January 17

10:30 AM — Andrew King— Three Montreal Projects: An Evolving Urbanity

This seminar will examine three recent large-scale Montreal projects: CHUM (Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal), REM (Réseau express métropolitain) and Humaniti (a large mixed-use development). Collectively, these projects are radically changing Montreal’s urban life through their influential and precedent-setting achievements. CHUM is a downtown hospital complex that incorporates a multitude of approaches to healthcare design. As a new railway system for Montreal, REM is raising ridership expectations through the design of its stations, notwithstanding influencing transit-oriented development. And Humaniti’s use of digital technology, connection with existing downtown urban infrastructure and its capacity to merge complex programming is attracting a lot of interest the design industry. Andrew King is currently a senior partner and design principal at Lemay but has extensive experience in all three projects. His insight will give seminar attendees insight and deep appreciation of Montreal’s changing dynamic.

10:30 AM — Russell Pollard Basima Roshan — Building an Inclusive Culture for Creative Businesses

Diversity in the workplace is inevitable, but how do you build an inclusive workplace culture? This seminar presents a picture of current trends and best practices in the creative and design industries as they relate to diversity and inclusion. The challenges and opportunities business leaders are facing related to initiating diversity and inclusion programs will be presented. Participants will benefit from a walk-through of key stages of talent management, such as attracting the right talent to people development and advancement, and their impact diversity and inclusion. Actions and measures businesses can take to build an inclusive, desirable workplace will be highlighted.

10:30 AM — Ted Watson  Richard Witt  Carol Phillips — Tall Wood Buildings: Toronto Case Studies

A groundswell movement towards the use of Mass Timber Structures for tall buildings is gaining momentum and will soon be seen visible on Toronto’s skyline, and other Ontario cities. Here is a unique emerging technology: sequestering carbon, fostering well-being, changing construction sites, and building to new heights well beyond current code permissions. Learn about the issues, challenges, and opportunities associated with the use of these structures through three firms, each with a Tall Wood Mass Timber project currently underway in Toronto. Hear our panel discuss the technical, code, and cost issues. Gain awareness into the significant design, cultural and sustainable opportunities presented by this nascent technology and how it is on track to be the next design and construction industry disruptor and how it applies to residential, commercial, cultural, institutional and recreational buildings.

11:00 AM — Marion Weiss Michael Manfredi —WEISS | MANFREDI: Alternate Grounds

The planning decisions we make today will impact our cities for generations. As cities evolve, architects and designers need to think about making cities resilient to change–from climate change to the ways in which we live and work. Cities have also become centres for innovation and inclusion. New York-based architects Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi will share their recent projects and upcoming research and work on their approaches to improving the liveability and success of our delicate yet resilient urban environments.

1:00 PM — Marina Tabassum —  Marina Tabassum: Wisdom of the Land

Marina Tabassum believes in the power of community, tradition and land as essential ingredients for meaningful design. In her native Bangladesh, she creates architecture that exudes a deep respect for climate and sense of place. The results are spectacular, often involving the ornamentation of surface through light, or the enrichment of spaces by empowering users with celebratory and functional communal spaces. Born in Dhaka, home to 20 million souls, Tabassum established her practice in 2005, 10 years after graduating from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), a school whose architecture curriculum is modeled after Texas A&M University. Exposed to many cultures, she understands both the universal appeal and the ethical responsibility to design for the specificity of place.

1:00 PM — Camille Mitchell — Gender, Race and the Incessant Obstacle Course

“The proverbial glass ceiling is an ineffective metaphor to describe the barriers of women, visible minorities and marginalized groups within the architecture profession. There is not a singular challenge or trajectory to overcome when yearning to achieve effective work-life balance, a healthy work environment, or professional recognition. These are amongst the numerous inherent challenges that young women will encounter along an incessant obstacle course throughout their careers within the architecture profession. And each “obstacle course” is unique to the individual who may decide to endure it or leave if they are not presented opportunities while striving to overcome the many challenges facing them throughout their careers.”

1:00 PM — Philip Beesley —Philip Beesley: Technology, Fabric, Design

Philip Beesley of Waterloo Architecture will present recent work by the Living Architecture Systems group that explores a new generation of sentient architectural environments. Working with artists, engineers and scientists, the research collective combines the crafts of lightweight textile structures, dense arrays of distributed computer controls with machine learning, and artificial-life chemistry.  New architectural installations within the collaboration feature dense reticulated grottos with breathing, reactive, near-living qualities. Thin layers of hovering filters are tuned for delicate kinetic and chemical responses in the form of expanded physiologies, beckoning and sharing space with viewers.

2:30 PM — Steven Street Cory Zurell  Jack Keays  Jonathan King —Tall Wood Case Study—The Wade Avenue Experiment

This seminar will examine the technical challenges and solutions for 77 Wade Avenue, Ontario’s first tall-wood building approved using the Alternative Solution evaluation process that falls within the objective-based Ontario Building Code. Members of the design team will discuss the project’s various stages of design and construction, illustrating how they worked through the various architectural, building code, fire protection and structural aspects of the project. The seminar will include future approaches to design stemming from this eight-storey hybrid mass timber building and will be followed by an audience-led question period with the project architect, fire protection/code consultant and structural engineer.

2:30 PM — Antonio Gómez-Palacio —Community Wellbeing: A Framework for Design

DIALOG, in partnership with the Conference Board of Canada, have developed a framework that measures community wellbeing. This session, led by Antonio Gomez-Palacio, will divulge the methodological process undertaken by both designers and researchers to develop the Community Wellbeing Framework, a tool for design professionals. Developed specifically for interior designers, architects, engineers, planners and developers, this framework deepens understandings and reshapes the purpose of design. The Framework leverages proactive considerations for wellbeing, measures the impacts and guides design decisions throughout a project’s lifecycle. Using a series of recognizable domains, identifying their corresponding connection to wellbeing, and indicators that provide measurable quantitative and qualitative data, the framework provides a snapshot of how design can positively or negatively affect future wellbeing.

Friday, January 18

9:00 AM — David Peterson — The Future of the Family Home

“We are social animals and how we live is important to our health. As a result, our architecture needs to be shaped by social considerations if we are to contend with the growing mental health problems seen in today’s children. The seminar will examine the current mental health data and correlate it to architectural forms. The seminar will highlight housing typologies and suggest regulatory changes which can be adopted to promote great social sustainability for cities.“

9:00 AM — Diana Smiciklas — Screening Materials for Health and Sustainability

Material screening is becoming increasingly important as manufacturers disclose more information regarding their materials. Our firm has learned to simplify an oft-confusing screening process by using different websites, databases, standards, and our internally developed Precautionary List. It is very important the materials we choose as designers and architects have the least amount of impact on the environment and our health. Material screening for the purposes of optimizing health and sustainability doesn’t have to be intimidating. This seminar will help attendees move through the process of ensuring that the materials we’re choosing do not negatively impact our health and environment.

1:00 PM — Carol Belanger — How to Navigate through a Process of Design Excellence in Public Buildings: A Look at the City of Edmonton

This seminar will focus on the power of a robust client-architect relationship with the goal of building award-winning public buildings. For over ten years, the City of Edmonton has evolved a progressive approach to commissioning design-conscious projects. City officials are typically afraid to assume unnecessary risk when hiring architects to guide them through their design challenges. However, for the sake of appearing fiscally responsible, risk-averse commissions often end up costing more to build and are almost certainly more expensive to maintain over their lifetime. Attendees will learn from Carol Belanger, City Architect for the City of Edmonton and Pat Hanson, partner of gh3*, an award-winning Toronto-based design practice who will discuss their respective roles and approach—and how designers can learn from their experiences to influence clear and positive outcomes with public clients.

1:00 PM — Peter Sobchak — Get Reel: Exploring Truth and Narrative in Architectural Film and Photography

Led by Building magazine and Canadian Interiors editor Peter Sobchak, this exciting panel discussion will include leading designers who are able to navigate through a range of opportunities that exist to influence the culture of design. Design media can take on a variety of meanings in today’s world. This panel will discuss the relevancy–and accuracy–of propagating the myths and identities of contemporary architecture in today’s media culture.

More information about next year’s Interior Design Show (IDS) is available via the official website, linked here.