Are our roofs a wasted resource?

I have occasionally worked on high floors in office buildings, which means I get to see the roofs below me. I have memories of the sparkle of the snow on frigid days in January and the sparkle of cars in the intensity of July sunshine. But I don’t remember ever seeing solar panels. In travelling …

“Five Big Moves” of Ottawa’s new Official Plan

City staff should be congratulated for setting an ambitious goal with the “Five Big Moves” of Ottawa’s new Official Plan. These are, indeed, big moves for the city. But creating the built environment is a political act. How will our local politicians approach these five planning goals? The first goal seeks more growth by intensification than …

Volunteering and Advocacy

Two weeks ago at the OAA Annual General Meeting, Heather Dubbeldam, OAA, FRAIC, was awarded the G. Randy Roberts Service Award. This award celebrates an OAA member for their extraordinary service to the membership. In her acceptance speech, Heather talked about her role in the Toronto Society of Architects, founder of BEAT (Bringing Equality to …

Creative Mornings

Two years ago, a good friend introduced me to Creative Mornings Ottawa. On April 27 I had the honor and pleasure of speaking at the monthly gathering of creative minds to speak on equity. I chose to address the topic of how we design washrooms in general, and specifically women’s washrooms. Based on my November …

There Should Be A Rule About That!

As someone who has written policies for companies large and small, people often assume that I am “for” policies, rules and laws. And I am, I think they should exist and I think the same laws should be applied to everyone in the same way. Where I buck people’s frequently voiced perceptions of my mind …

Let’s Normalize Equity in Design

In Layman’s Terms (A Non-Architect’s Point of View) “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Romans 12:19 New International Version In thinking about the backlash against efforts to bring about a more equitable world …

Climate Change is Everywhere

Climate change is everywhere, and architecture has a big part to play in making change. Awareness of the built environment, and its role in effecting change is crucial: how we plan our parks, allowing rivers to overflow; how we create sustainable suburban communities and halt the ravage of unchecked #sprawl; how we invest in existing, …

Awards: The Echo Chamber of the Mainstream

In Layman’s Terms (A Non-Architect’s Point of View) It feels like we’re perpetually in awards season. There’s always some group patting themselves on the back. It makes me uncomfortable. When my kids were in grade school the awards were generally pointless so I saw all awards as harmless praise. My opinion has evolved and I …

Accessibility in the Built Environment | CBC Ottawa Morning

On Monday, March 11 2019, the Honorable David Onley former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, slammed the Province of Ontario for failing to reach accessibility goals. He noted that unnecessary barriers persist in the built environment, and called on architecture schools, and the profession, to take action. The following day, Kenzie McCurdy and I were invited …

Conference Characters

A layman’s view (not an architect) For those of you who have never been to a conference, I would recommend you experience it at least once in your life. To feel the collegiate spirit. To watch people interact as they applaud themselves and their peers is a moment to enjoy. A conference is like a …