A Conversation With City Councillor Catherine McKenney

In an ongoing effort to connect with the distinguished and prominent voices that back our advocacy for better-built environments, we sat down with City Councillor Catherine McKenney at the beautiful new National Arts Centre to discuss equity in the built environment. In addition to accessible transit and para parity for people facing mobility challenges, we …

A Conversation With City Councillor Shawn Menard

As an architecture firm, not only do we have a vision of sustainable cities and a more accessible built environment that puts people first, we’re always looking for ways to strengthen our advocacy by finding prominent voices to join ours in making a better-built environment. Earlier this year, when the world looked much different than …

Cognitive dissonance creeps into Ottawa’s planning and design decisions

Cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort that comes from holding two conflicting beliefs, values or attitudes. It is part of a social psychology theory that tries to explain a disconnect between a person’s behaviours and their beliefs. When you know that cigarettes cause cancer, but decide to start smoking anyway, this is an example of …

Designing 15-minute neighbourhoods in a post-COVID Ottawa

Ottawa aspires to be one of the best livable mid-sized cities in North America. A key part of this vision includes vibrant traditional main streets supporting both speciality and everyday items: think of a butcher, bagel shop or bakery that are within a short walk. Add a pharmacy and services such as dentists, doctors and …

Creating forward motion by working in place

How investing in architecture now will set us up for future success. Over the last month, we’ve seen the world respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In Canada, as in many other parts of the world, we’ve seen the economy shut down while we work from home. As governments provide the much-needed support to people, small businesses …

Toon Featured on The Big Story

The Big Story recently did a piece on the impact that the COVID19 pandemic is having on our cities, homes and offices, and discussed with Toon Dreessen whether or not the short term effects we’re seeing will have long term benefits on the future designs of our built environments. Read the article and listen to …

Building Forward: What architects need from government to make it through COVID-19

Running a small business isn’t easy at the best of times. Payroll comes every two weeks. Rent and utility bills come every month. Tax submissions come every quarter. Today’s pandemic exacerbates the challenges that small businesses face: reserves are often minimal, allowing for, if they’re lucky, a month or two of emergency financial resources. Due …

Straying from the path: How COVID19 will change the design of our cities.

It’s been a tough few weeks for all of us. Small businesses are struggling and our traditional, walkable main streets are void of the pedestrian traffic that independent stores depend on to stay afloat. Some have closed outright, while others are taking steps to keep their doors open by offering take-out and delivery options for …