Exploring Intensification

By Christine Séguin — Wed, 24/09/2014 - 21:52

Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave these past few years, you may have noticed some big changes to our city.  Ottawa is growing at a rapid rate.  Evidence is found in the new football stadium at Lansdowne Park or the booming sound of a new transit system being built.  How are we as a population to cope with this rapid change? There is fortunately a week-long event where the people of this great growing city can explore the challenges and potential of these changes.

Welcome to Ottawa Architecture Week (OAW). Where architecture professionals and design enthusiasts gather to celebrate and discuss the ever evolving industry and its effect on our region.  Each year, the week is centered on a particular theme or issue and this topic is explored through various public events such as workshops, installations, panels, networking and film screenings. The week kicks off on Sunday, September 28th and runs until Sunday October 5th. OAW is an organization that depends heavily on hard-working volunteers and has a core committee of eight members including chair Nico Valenzuela, who spoke to me about the upcoming event.

This quarter-century-old tradition is not just for industry professionals.  OAW welcomes architecture enthusiasts and community members interested in the design and development of their city.  “Our big goal this year is to bring the festival to the public and community in a way that it hasn’t been done in the past.”  One of the ways in which they have done this was to instate a theme.  This year that theme is: Intensification. 

This theme will drive such events as a panel discussion on Wednesday, October 1st on the subject of urban revitalization, social housing and the arts scene in Ottawa and their effects on heritage neighbourhoods.  This event includes a screening of the film Last Call at the Gladstone Hotel.  The week will also include four tours.  One will be of Ottawa’s historic downtown core, exploring forgotten and existing landmarks; one of the Hintonburg Six condos on Pinhey Avenue; a tour exploring the new 850 sqare-foot condos of the Meridian; and the last is of the new Faculty of Social Science building at the University of Ottawa.  All these tours will explore how design, architecture and landscape explore the potential of urban intensification in Ottawa.

Another highlight of OAW is designer Michael M Simon’s installation Piece Tower, which actually debuted during the Ottawa-Gatineau Nuit Blanche.  The piece, a vertical campground with tents, coolers and the works are arranged like a tower with scaffolding and ladders.  “Campers” inhabit the sculpture, which shines light on the lifestyle we are willing to endure in the new climate of intensification.  The installation is a comment on privacy. “The campers are exposed and vulnerable to the elements, similar to the real experience of camping, but what becomes most uncomfortable here is, in fact, their constant exposure to others.”

With these and other great events, talks and networking opportunities, there are lots of reasons to explore Ottawa Architecture Week.  It is a great way for anyone to get to know this ever developing city.

To see what else OAW has in store and to register for events, please visit their website: http://ottawaarchitectureweek.com/

Ottawa Architechture Week
September 29 to October 5
Various locations

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