October 2022


In our October issue

While sustainability is on our minds in every issue, our October issue puts a sharp focus on current research and projects.

Our editorial opens the issue by looking at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2022 report. There is much that can be done to adapt buildings to climate impacts, and an urgency to implementing change quickly. “Building today for resilience and lower emissions is far easier than retrofitting tomorrow,” notes the report.

Cities are starting to come on board, implementing carbon budgets in both new and existing buildings. A group called Rise for Architecture has been working at implementing an architecture policy for Canada, which would help all levels of decision-makers in building the case for environmentally sustainable, socially progressive, and high-quality buildings.

One of the largest scale projects aiming to recalibrate the relationship between built infrastructures and natural ecologies is taking place in Toronto’s Port Lands. We showcase the work-in-progress in a text by Shannon Bassett, accompanied by stunning photos by Vid Ingelevics and Ryan Walker.

Sustainability research is taking place in different segments of the building industry. We report on an Alberta design-build firm exploring panellized net-zero retrofits in the Canadian market. We also hear from Integral Group about the huge embodied carbon impact of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. Practices and communities everywhere are also making improvements to local resilience, and reviving traditional knowledge.

In the AIA Canada Society Journal, embedded within our pages, an interview with Angela Brooks and Lawrence Scarpa, winners of the 2022 AIA Gold Medal, probes how sustainability, housing affordability, and design innovation are interwoven. Themes of adaptive reuse and contextually attuned design also come up in reviews of a new book on Canadian mosque design by Tammy Gaber, and a memoir by Jack Diamond.

The issue is rounded out by reviews of two projects that build on—and add value to—existing urban infrastructures. North of Toronto, MJMA and Stantec have elegantly transformed the De Havilland plant at the former Downsview airport into an aviation technician training facility for Centennial College. And in Montreal, the city has emerged from pandemic lockdowns to a new artistic installation by Claude Cormier et associés that captures the city’s history, and points to a hopeful future.

Elsa Lam, editor