2015 Festival of Architecture

The 2015 Festival of Architecture in Calgary, June 3-6, was a great success, with more than 600 delegates in attendance taking in the continuing education sessions, awards ceremony, and social functions.

The RAIC organized and presented the festival in conjunction with the Alberta Association of Architects (AAA), and was generously sponsored by Velux Canada Inc., Rediscover Concrete, and many others. The festival’s smooth execution is also thanks to the help of local volunteers.

This year’s festival took place on the traditional lands of Treaty Seven Nations, and so the conference organizers sought the support of all conference attendees toward an important cause. Delegates raised $10,000 for the Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary.

Planning has already begun for the 2016 festival of architecture, which will take place in Nanaimo, B.C.

Shafraaz Kaba, MRAIC, and Scott Pickles, FRAIC, co-chaired the local festival organizing committee this year and were instrumental in creating this outstanding event.

Here is what they had to say once the 2015 festival had drawn to a close:

“The 2015 Festival of Architecture in Calgary embodied the best of western hospitality and our can-do spirit. From the opening “dine-around” experience to the tours that unlocked current projects and historical highlights, to the closing party at the brand-new Charbar, Calgary demonstrated it is all about creating a vibrant energy.

“The theme of (Re)generation and Integration was woven into the opening reception blessing by Elder Casey Eaglespeaker of the Treaty Seven territory, as well as the opening keynote address by Zita Cobb, and then reinforced at the President’s Dinner by Gold Medalist Brian MacKay-Lyons. All provided messages of how ‘the local,’ and our profession can assist communities in finding vitality by reinforcing the past while embracing and engaging their current residents.

“Calgary also showed how the Festival moves beyond the conference centre and into the streets and studios with the building of the Design Pavilion, the Public Speaker, the Design Hub and Future Station architecture conversations. Delegates enjoyed a night of open houses with Calgary practices working in the area of urbanism, architecture and landscape. Within the conference centre 40+ continuing education courses where offered which discussed and debated a wide array of subjects. Each received good acclaim, as many delegates mentioned that the sessions were topical, challenging and relevant to today’s practice.

All in all, Calgary sustained a high level of energy for this year's Festival. See you all in Nanaimo!”

The continuing education sessions this year were of the highest quality, and many thanks go to all presenters whose knowledge and efforts greatly contributed to the success of the festival. Attendees have described the courses as inspirational, informative, and well moderated.

The RAIC National Office is currently tabulating the con-ed survey results and will be sending them to presenters this summer.

Here’s what some of our special guests and award winners said about the festival:

“Please accept my gratitude for all your wonderful arrangements at the Festival. I enjoyed being among so many architects.”

- Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, Hon. MRAIC

“You found a way to create an event that was both socially pleasant and professionally valuable. It was an honour to have the chance to give a lecture within the conference and to receive your precious award.”

- Rami Bebawi, MRAIC, KANVA

Apart from the educational sessions, the festival offered several entertaining social events that allowed delegates to get out and see Calgary. The Fellows Convocation took place at the beautiful Theatre Junction Grand, where 36 new members were inducted into the College in a traditional ceremony. Members of the College of Fellows also had an opportunity to congregate and network at their annual luncheon.

Together the RAIC and the AAA produced an educational and socially enjoyable conference that was well attended and made unique by Calgary’s local culture. We look forward to seeing all members, delegates, and special guests next year in Nanaimo.