Upcoming Forum Lecture Series at the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism, Carleton University

Since 1968, Carleton University’s Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism has brought local, national and international architects to Ottawa to participate in the Forum Lecture Series. The goal of each Forum Lecture is to educate students, faculty and the general public about the profession, the design process and the impact architecture has on our communities. Forum has presented an impressive lineup over the years including recent notables Moshe Safdie, Arthur Erickson and Teresa Sapey. All Forum lectures are held in the National Gallery of Canada and attract audiences from across the region.

The lecture schedule is as follows:

October 1, 2008: Manuelle Gautrand
Manuelle Gautrand established her architectural practice in 1991, and has since produced a significant body of work. The firm spans a range of commission types, from domestic housing through to institutional, cultural, industrial and infrastructure projects. Sophistication of design, originality of intent and judicious choice of materials mark the work of Manuelle Gautrand Architects. The modern treatment of program, form and materials provides a refreshing excursion into the possibilities that a creative team of architects can achieve at the turn of the 21st century, and is all the more true given that many of the firm’s projects have been realized on sites with historic fabrics. This neo-architect’s monograph examines 17 remarkable projects, built and unbuilt, providing an insight into the workings of a modern European practice.

October 22, 2008: Nili Portugali
Nili Portugali is a practicing Israeli architect and lecturer based in Jerusalem, Israel. Portugali’s work focuses on both practice and theory, and is tightly connected to the holistic-phenomenological school of thought, inspired by her studies in both architecture and Buddhism. Portugali’s recently published book, Act of Creation and the Spirit of a Place: A Holistic-Phenomenological Approach to Architecture was nominated for the RIBA International Book Award Architecture Prize 2007, and offers her view on creating a physical environment where the human perspective is considered first. What is good for humans, Portugali believes, will be good for the environment too. For example, it’s in the interest of humans to be exposed to natural daylight in the stairwell instead of having to rely on electricity; this of course, also saves energy. Portugali respects the environment as well: when working on an elderly care facility in Tel Aviv, she chose to use two ancient eucalyptus trees to mark the entrance, rather than have them removed. Portugali endeavours to blend architecture, spirituality, hope and essence in her work, to find the balance between environmentally friendly architecture and livable, workable “human-friendly” spaces.

November 10, 2008: Mario Botta
Arguably the most famous living Swiss architect, Mario Botta worked as an assistant to both Le Corbusier and Louis I. Kahn. Some of Kahn’s influence can be seen in his design of the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Botta’s first American commission. Until then, Botta worked exclusively in Switzerland and gained international acclaim for the Capuchin convent in Lugano, the craft centre in Balerna and the administration building for the Staatsbank in Fribourg. Botta states that, “Every architectural work has its own environment…the first action involved in doing architecture is the consideration of its territory.”

November 19, 2008: Marco Petreschi
Marco Petreschi s a “Roman architect” in other words a designer of buildings who, detached from the stylistic fashions that have held sway in Italy in the last few decades, has tenaciously followed an independent course. In his 30-year career, Petreschi has regarded his various commissions as opportunities for unostentatious experimentation: without seeking special effects, he relies on the physical density of the space and its details, allowing his architecture to be enriched by all that has gone before it. The architect’s peculiarities are the numerous changes in scale, from domestic interiors to many public buildings devoted to culture and the sacred, culminating in the design of the altar in 2000 for the great gathering of the Great Jubilee in Rome, and recently in 2008 in the design of the New Central Bank of Albania this last work as the result of an international competition.

January 19, 2009: Dan Hanganu
Of Romanian descent and based in Montreal, Quebec, Dan Hanganu has designed many of Montreal’s largest buildings, like the Tour de la Bourse skyscraper and the Centre Bell. He was one of the architects of the Olympic Stadium, and among many of his notable and award-winning projects are the Pointe-a-Callire archaeology museum, the HEC (cole des Hautes tudes Commerciales) building in Montreal, the concert Hall in Rimouski, the UQAM design school and several other mixed-use, commercial, residential and cultural buildings in Montreal, Europe and Asia. Hanganu places great importance on the function of the spaces he designs, being fully aware of the impact good and bad architecture can have on people’s daily lives. “Architecture can be a very dangerous instrument,” says Hanganu. “We can make people happy or unhappy depending on what kind of space we design for them.” When designing the HEC building for the University of Montreal, to fully grasp students’ needs the architect went so far as to visit the school “in secret” to observe students in the third-floor work areas. This inspired him to create areas bathed in natural light. Similarly, a meeting room that had originally been designed lengthwise became transversal, allowing more light to enter. “I always act out of conviction; the changes made to HEC Montreal are improvements for everybody,” says Hanganu.

March 18, 2009: Peter Buchanan
A resident of North Vancouver, Peter Buchanan brings 25 years of experience to Open Space Architecture, the practice he shares with fellow principal Don Gurney. Buchanan is well known for innovative design of sophisticated residences to large-scale award-winning community and industrial projects, such as the West Chevron Expansion at Vancouver International Airport, Braid Street, Lake City and VCC SkyTrain Stations and the Seymour Capilano Filtration Plant (while at Stantec). The firm is responsible for projects including Tofino Beach Lodge, the Dalai Lama Centre for Peace and Education, and the Grand Museum of Egypt.

For more information, please visit www.arch.carleton.ca.