Substance over Spectacle: Contemporary Canadian Architecture

Substance over Spectacle: Contemporary Canadian Architecture is an exhibition of projects by Canadian architects built in Canada since the beginning of the nineties, curated by Andrew Gruft. The exhibition is a followup to Gruft’s survey of Canadian architecture A Measure of Consensus, which was organized by the UBC Fine Arts Gallery (now the Belkin) in 1986. The exhibition runs from April 22 to June 5, and admission is free.

The exhibition presents some of the “best and brightest work” of the last ten years. It attempts to conceptualize and position architectural practice in Canada. The thesis implicit in the title argues for the complexity and integrity of the best Canadian architecture, in an international context which often bestows the highest profile on buildings that tend toward the spectacular.

The exhibition asks us to consider several theoretical questions while viewing projects by 25 of the country’s leading contemporary architects. We need to ask how the term Canadian architecture involves a variety of intersecting realities and ideas such as national identity and values, educational standards, geography and climate, urbanization, multi-cultural contexts, bureaucratization, economics and internationalism.

In conjunction with this event, an architectural forum will be held on Sunday, April 24 at 2:00pm in Room 104 of the Frederic Lasserre Building at 6333 Memorial Road next to the Belkin Gallery. Participants include Sherry McKay, Marco Polo, and Donald Schmitt.

For more information, please contact Naomi Sawada, Public Programs and Publicity Coordinator, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, at (604) 822-3640 or