DCA Monthly Round-Up: The Urban Realm

It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for me, from conferences to speaking engagements and everything in between. Travelling from Ottawa to Toronto and “virtually” sparking conversations with people all over the world via the DCA Twitter account, I’ve been on a mission to help educate and inspire a new way of thinking about architecture, the urban landscape, and procurement processes.

There’s so much I’m proud to reflect back on and share with my followers, so here’s a quick rundown on what I’ve been up to these past few weeks.

PopCanCrit Toronto – “At a fundamental level, architecture is communication.” On October 27th, I was honoured to be asked to speak as a panelist at  PopCanCrit, a public event investigating the conditions of architecture criticism in today’s world. The symposium brought together some of Canada’s leading architectural voices. It was eye-opening, inspiring and I was thrilled to take part in the panel.

Toon Dreessen and Shelley True

I3 – Industry, Issues + Insights Ottawa – The I3: Smart Development and Design event was held at the newly-renovated National Arts Centre in early November. I appreciated the opportunity to speak on the importance of procurement processes in architecture – something I’m very passionate about. Also on the panel was Andrew Reeves of Linebox Studio; Jennifer Mallard, Senior Associate of Diamond Schmitt Architects; and Professor Gregory Richards of Telfer School of Management University of Ottawa.

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Ottawa Business Journal – In addition to my recent speaking engagements, I recently contributed an Op-Ed to the Ottawa Business Journal entitled Buying better buildings: How government should hire architects – focusing on ways in which the public sector can spark more innovative designs by rethinking procurement processes. As I said in the Op-Ed, “Without designs that innovate, we don’t get the great buildings we need.”

But we didn’t stop there.

The OBJ reached out to me for commentary on their feature piece Modern Ottawa Offices highlighting the new ways that architects and designers are creating our workspaces. I was able to provide some insight into the topic as we are seeing more and more office environments dedicating space for collaboration, whiteboard sessions, cafés and interactive spaces. Reimagining the possibilities of traditional space can create untapped opportunities for people to come together and be more productive – and ultimately happier.

Kitchissippi Times“We tend to think of buildings as static structures, but we rarely stop to think about how we are engaging with our environment.” In the piece How Does Architecture Affect Communities? (page 12) written by Kitchissippi Times writer Misty Pratt, I weighed in on the matter of architecture in our neighbourhoods. As I stated, “When a building goes up, the public needs to see it and find that they invest some of themselves into making that building a part of their community.” Architecture is not just about plunking a building on a site and ignoring it. We need to ask ourselves how that building fits into the context of its community.

Capital Magazine – On November 20, I was featured in the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce‘s Capital Magazine in an article entitled CEO Talk – Creating Better Places to Live, Work and Play. “I don’t have to understand exactly what my client or tenant’s business is. But I have to understand enough about how they work and what’s important to them. My goal is to create a space where someone can do their job effortlessly.” The article also features Michael Waters of The Minto Group and Alan Wehbe of UTG Digital Media. Read the entire article, here.

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