Recent Initiatives Update

Below are summaries of some of the activities and initiatives some of the RAIC AB executive have been working on and participating in.  For more information on any or all of these, please contact RAIC Alberta Chapter and we will fill you in.  Please take a moment to learn a bit more about what these members have been doing within the chapter and in our communities.

Peter Osborne

I have participated and organized the following events:

Standup On Site – Architecture and Oil – April 9, 2009

  • This panel discussion was made possible in cooperation with On Site Magazine through a joint Canadian Council for the Arts and Alberta Arts Foundation Grant. The panelists include Bill Chomik, principle at Kasian Architecture, Michele Gucciardi, design manager at HOK, Tony Luppino, executive director of the AGA, and Peter Osborne, executive director RAIC_AB, moderator.

Doors Open Festival – Philosopher’s Café – Adaptive Re-use Architecture – May 23, 2009

  • This panel discussion was made possible in cooperation with the Doors Open Festival and the Heritage Community Foundation. The panelists included Ian O’Donnell, Manasc Issac Architects, Troy Smith, managing associate Group 2 Architecture, and Peter Osborne, executive director RAIC_AB, moderator.

Chad Oberg

Chad Oberg has been working on an initiative to enhance the long-term viability of the chapter. The Alberta Chapter website and other online collaboration tools have been successfully upgraded and transferred to the RAIC National Office where a staff of web administrators will now be responsible for keeping everything up and running.

The most visible results of this change are a new look, a new website address – – and a new general email address – The former website name and email address will forward to the new locations through February of 2010.

The RAIC National Office will ensure the continuity of web technology from one volunteer committee to the next. This empowers the Alberta Chapter to concentrate on providing content for the site, which has been structured to require a minimal amount of technical skill. Chad has also created a series of online training videos for the web tools, specifically to help new committee members get involved.

Perhaps most importantly, with these new resources the RAIC National Office has expressed an interest in utilizing both the technology and training videos of the Alberta Chapter as a template for new provincial chapters as they begin to emerge.

Basel Abdulaal

I was involved in the following main activities as an RAIC – AB Chapter Executive Director:

1. Transitional Biohousing Design competition / Emerging Green Builders

Competition objective

Is to change attitudes around transitional housing, sustainable living, and environmental action in the province by bringing different groups together on a building project that is environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable.


The design competition will elicit ideas to be implemented in the construction of a Transitional Biohousing building in Edmonton, Alberta.

The term Biohousing reflects the use of natural building products and design principles that are focused on healthy, environmentally sound living for the inhabitants. Transitional housing refers to affordable housing and supportive services offered for a specific period of time to individuals or families while they find more stable homes, or have learned the necessary skills required to live independently. This project will house single-mother families who require transitional living and services following initial treatment from local shelters and groups.


March 1, 2009 – Competition announcement

April 17, 2009 – Competition closes

May 5-7, 2009 – Award presented

RAIC / AB Chapter Role

a. To ensure that that all stakeholders were treated fairly

b. Developed Terms of Reference with Alberta Chapter – Canada Green Building Council Emerging Green Builders Design Competition 2009

c. Involved in Jury Selection Process

d. Publication of the participating projects on RAIC web site

2. 2009 Edmonton Urban Design Award / City of Edmonton

Competition objective

Urban design and architectural excellence play an important role in enhancing the quality of life in Canadian cities. The City of Edmonton wish to promote a greater awareness about the importance of better urban design by recognizing the individuals, organizations, firms and projects that have contributed to enhancing the quality of life in Edmonton.


The Planning and Development Department in partnership with the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) successfully launched the Edmonton Urban Design Awards in 2005. In 2007, the City established an agreement with the RAIC to implement the awards program by providing a one time grant.

The City of Edmonton is committed to manage the Edmonton Urban Design Awards Program on a bi-annual basis.

Project Timelines

The Awards Ceremony will take place at the City Hall on 18th November 2009. The following is a summary of tentative key dates for this project.

  • Early-June: Steering Committee meetings begin
  • Mid-July: Official Announcement of the Awards / media release, call for submission
  • End of September: Receive submissions
  • Mid October: Jury
  • 18th November: Awards Ceremony
  • Mid-November to end-November: Exhibition of the Award winning projects at the City Hall
  • End of January 2010: Preparation of the publication featuring award winning projects

RAIC / AB Chapter Role

a. To ensure that the governing protocol is RAIC guidelines. The Canadian rules for the conduct of competitions will be used as a framework for the 2009 Edmonton Urban Design Awards.

b. To ensure that that all stakeholders were treated fairly

c. Developed Terms of Reference with the City of Edmonton

d. Involvement in the attending meetings of the Technical Committee

e. in Jury Selection Process

f. Involvement in the publication of the participating projects in a book and on RAIC web site

3. Preparation for a round table forum on BIM

It is a part of a new initiative (still in early stages of preparation): BIM round Table Forum (as a model)


It is important to implement green and sustainable design strategy for existing buildings construction and renovation that will happen in the coming 2 decades (75% of US buildings will be renewed or renovated by 2030 – similar percentage is expected in Canada)

Some aspect of BIM Discussion:

BIM and lean construction

Need for a business model that entices BIM

Discuss Return Overall Investment

SMART initiative

Strategic Implementation for BIM

Possible organizations involvement

Private sector

Public Works and government bodies

Professional associations

Insurance practice representation

4. Establishing and maintaining relationships with other organizations: City of Edmonton, CAGBC, University of Alberta

Through communication and suggesting initiatives and activities that are in mutual interest for both RAIC–AB Chapter and the organizations. Not all ideas and initiatives have seen the light, however, a few (mentioned above) were successful ones.

Continue to check back with the chapter for other events and initiatives as well as updates and please remember that most of these activites are volunteer operated and extra help will often be appreciated.