Doors Open Toronto

OpenInsights Speaker Series

Keynote Event: What is Canadian Architecture?

East Harbour, 21 Don Roadway
Covered bike racks and free parking available
Friday, May 26, 7 pm

Canada’s landscape is vast and varied, with immense distances separating communities and cities. Much like the diversity that defines the country's identities and geographies, many Canadians embrace multiculturalism rather than assimilation. However, this is not the viewpoint of all, nor entirely representative of Canadian Culture.

Buildings and spaces created by Canadian architects illustrate and illuminate the many varied perspectives of Canadian identity – but, does a distinctly Canadian voice exist in Canadian architecture? A diverse group of leading architects from across the nation (and beyond) debate this in acknowledgement of Canada's 150th birthday.

Venue provided by East Harbour

Closed-toed shoes are strongly recommended.

Panelists: A.J. Diamond, Omar Gandhi, Valerie Gow, Murray Legge, Susan Scott, Pierre Thibault

Moderator: Beth Kapusta

In partnership with the Toronto Society of Architects

Getting to East Harbour, 21 Don Roadway:   
Volunteers will be at the corner of Don Roadway and Lakeshore to help guide you to the building.
Transit: Take the 72 bus from Union or Pape Station.
Driving: Take the first right after turning on to Don Roadway.
Cycling: Take the first right after turning on to Don Roadway.


MIA: Where Are the Women Architects? 

The Great Hall, 1087 Queen St. W.
Sunday, 4 pm

The representation of women as practising lawyers and doctors in Canada is approximately 40 percent (rising to 61.4 percent for doctors under 35). Why is it then that the similarly demanding profession of architecture stagnated in 2005 and remains at 25 percent? What are the barriers women face in this field, why are they not advancing to leadership levels and what can be done? These questions and more will be discussed on this timely topic, featuring a panel of women architects from all positions in the profession.

Panelists: Mary Lou Lobsinger, Camille MitchellBarbora Vokac Taylor, Delnaz Yekrangian

Moderator: Elsa Lam

In partnership with The Great Hall


What is Canadian Architecture? | Speakers

ExpandA. J. Diamond

A.J. Diamond - photo by Michael Cooper

A. J. Diamond founded the internationally acclaimed Diamond Schmitt Architects in Toronto in 1975. His design sensibility is to create beautiful, sustainable buildings that are responsive to their environment and context. This approach has won accolades for the 200-member firm, with projects on to the go across Canada and internationally. An extensive portfolio includes academic buildings, libraries, performing arts centres, hospitals, research and life science facilities, master plans, residential and commercial buildings.

Mr. Diamond received a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Capetown, an MA from Oxford University and a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.

He is a member of the Order of Ontario, an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and, most recently, the recipient of the Jane Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award. He is currently leading Diamond Schmitt’s shortlist submission for the United Kingdom Holocaust Memorial.

ExpandOmar Gandhi

Omar GhandiOmar Gandhi is a Toronto-born Canadian architect, raised in Brampton, who currently practices and resides in both Halifax, Nova Scotia and Toronto.

After studying in the Regional Arts program at Mayfield Secondary School (Caledon) and then the inaugural Architectural Studies Program at the University of Toronto he moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia where he received his Master’s degree in 2005 at Dalhousie University. After graduation Omar worked for Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects, Young + Wright Architects and most recently for MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects in Halifax and worked on several key projects including Manitoba Hydro, Two Hulls, the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University and the Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum- Nano Centre at the University of Waterloo. Gandhi started his own design studio in 2010 and became a registered architectural practice in 2012. Omar is currently also a sessional instructor at the School of Architecture and Planning at Dalhousie University.

Omar is the recipient of the 2014 Canada Council for the Arts Professional Prix de Rome and was listed in Wallpaper* Magazine’s 2014 Architects Directory – their list of the top 20 Young Architects in the World. Most recently, Omar was named one of the Architectural League of New York’s ‘Emerging Voices’ of 2016 and one of Monocle Magazine’s 20 most influential Canadians.

ExpandValerie Gow

Valerie GowCertified in both interior design and architecture, Valerie Gow combines a comprehensive understanding of design with a lyrical sense of material, colour and space, leading to projects of clarity and finesse.

Valerie graduated from Ryerson Polytechnic University with a degree in interior design (1990), and a bachelor’s of architecture from the University of British Columbia (1994).

Valerie joined the practice in 2002 after many years of practice with significant firms. She was Project Architect for KPMB Architects (Toronto), Austin-Smith: Lord Architects (UK) and Christopher Bozyk Architects (Vancouver) where she gained considerable interior design experience. Her experience includes being project architect for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Heath, a $380 million redevelopment of a 27 acre site in downtown Toronto and a $125 million new campus for the University of Hertfordshire in the England.

ExpandBeth Kapusta (moderator)

Beth KapustaBeth Kapusta (B.E.S., B.Arch) is a Toronto-based consultant and architecture writer. For the past four years, she has headed up the Design Excellence program at Metrolinx, charting a vision to elevate the quality and customer focus of design across the agency’s transit projects. Her city-building efforts included shaping complex transit initiatives: the $6-billion Eglinton Crosstown LRT, the $1B East Rail Maintenance Facility in Whitby, and charting a strong design direction for the controversial Davenport Diamond elevated guideway and greenway. She has been involved in numerous projects and competitions that reflect her passion for the urban and cultural landscape of Toronto, including June Callwood Park, HTO Park, and Sugar Beach. She has taught urban design at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, where she received her Bachelor of Architecture in 1991. 

ExpandMurray Legge

Murray LeggeMurray Legge, FAIA is a principal with Murray Legge Architecture and is a graduate of the Cooper Union School of Architecture in New York City. His professional achievements include receiving the 2006 AIA Austin Young Architectural Professional Award as well as more than 20 design awards, including two national AIA awards and the Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award. Winner of the prestigious Lyceum Fellowship, he was also twice a finalist in Van Alen Institute competitions, including the Paris Prize. In 2013, Murray was elevated to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in the design category. His work has appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, and he is a frequent lecturer and critic at the University of Texas at Austin, School of Architecture.

Murray is also a co-founder of Legge Lewis Legge, an interdisciplinary collaborative, based in Austin and New York. With a focus on large-scale installations, public art and landscape design, Legge Lewis Legge has been widely recognized including receiving a national AIA award in 2009. The studio received an honorable mention in the international design competition for the Flight 93 memorial and was a finalist in the Boston Logan Airport 9/11 memorial competition. Legge Lewis Legge also recently completed a public urban landscape in Boston through grants from the National Parks Service and the City of Boston and is currently working on projects in San Antonio, Calgary and San Diego where they are designing an aircraft observation park for the San Diego International Airport Authority.

Murray was raised in Canada and attended the University of Toronto's Architecture program for two years.

ExpandSusan Scott

Susan ScottSusan Scott received her Masters of Architecture degree from Dalhousie University in 2000 and after working in Montreal and London returned to her hometown of Vancouver. Following four years at James Cheng Architects Susan joined mgb Architecture + Design and worked as a project architect and associate for seven years.

While at mgb she was involved with a wide range of projects including Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow, Canadian Rockies International Airport in Cranbrook, CNC Trades Buildings in Prince George and Quesnel, Ronald McDonald House Vancouver, the Wing Sang Gallery in Vancouver’s Chinatown and a local infill and townhouse projects.

In 2012 Susan and her husband David established the architecture studio of Scott & Scott Architects within their family home in Vancouver.

In 2016 they were both awarded The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Young Architect Award.

Susan has recently lectured at UBC and participated in the Architectural League of New York Emerging Voices lecture series. She is also an active intern mentor with the Architectural Institute of British Columbia.

ExpandPierre Thibault

Pierre Thibault

Architect Pierre Thibault's work is the result of the idea that people and the natural or urban space they inhabit, are in constant interaction. His personal approach is realized through major architectural achievements within his studio - Atelier Pierre Thibault. His work includes the Baie-Saint-Paul Contemporary Art Museum, the Castor Lake Villa and the Val Notre-Dame Abbey. Eternal traveler, admirer of the immense power of seasonal transformation in Quebec, in love with contemplation as a way of slowing down time, Pierre Thibault devotes a great part of his practice to the realization of ephemeral architectural installations, written delicately into the landscapes that they join.

Where are the Women Architects? | Speakers

ExpandElsa Lam (moderator)

Elsa Lam

Elsa Lam is editor-in-chief of Canadian Architect magazine, a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. She was the 2012 winner of the Phyllis Lambert Prize for writing in architecture, awarded for her doctoral dissertation “Wilderness Nation: Building Canada’s Railway Landscapes, 1885-1929”, completed at Columbia University in the City of New York under the supervision of Kenneth Frampton and Vittoria di Palma. The dissertation explores the role of Canada’s railway hotels, western national parks and other railway-sponsored buildings and landscapes in forging a sense of national identity.

Lam studied architectural history at McGill University and architectural design at the University of Waterloo. She has written extensively for architecture magazines, as well as collaborating on the editing and writing of several books on design history. Previous to her role at Canadian Architect, she worked with the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal.

ExpandMary Lou Lobsinger

Mary Louise LobsingerMary Lou Lobsinger is a historian and teaches the history and theory of architecture and design. Her research focuses on the histories and theories of modern architecture and urbanism with specific expertise in issues around historiography, science, technology, and techniques of articulation. She has published in Grey Room, Daidalos, Journal of Architecture Education, Thresholds, Architecture+Ideas, and Journal of the Society of Architecture Historians. She has held fellowships and received awards from the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Graham Foundation, the Social Science and Research Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Design Council, the Graduate School of Design, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. Prior to pursuing doctoral studies Lobsinger’s creative practice included text-based visual works and making environments for multi-disciplinary experiments between theory and praxis. Her first book project is titled The Realist Impulse. She is currently working on two book projects, the most immediate is titled, Architecture Institution: Media,Techniques,Territories.

ExpandCamille Mitchell

Camille MitchellCamille Mitchell has been a part of the design team of KPMB Architects since completing Graduate studies at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture. She was fully immersed in the design of the New Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and has been involved with the project from initial design competition through construction.  Her current project is the development of a new commercial tower for the Bay Adelaide Center.

Black Women compose 0.2% of licensed Architects in the United States.   Therefore, she is passionate about promoting the Architecture Profession to youth through local career workshops.  She stress the importance for visible minority groups to be involved with the design of their built environments and STEM programs.  

She is currently serving as the Managing Director for the Executive Committee of the independent organization BEAT – Building Equality in Architecture, Toronto.  BEAT is dedicated to the promotion of equality in the profession of Architecture through advocacy, mentorship, and networking. They create events and web content to promote the advancement of women in the profession, provide mentorship, networking and leadership opportunities.

ExpandBarbora Vokac Taylor

Barbora Vokac Taylor

Barbora Vokac Taylor has been serving on the TSA executive board since 2015 and leads both the Summer Building Tour Series and, with Adam Thom, the Studio Open House programme in conjunction with Doors Open Toronto. Barbora is a registered architect and principal of Barbora Vokac Taylor Architect (BVTa:) a practice focused on residential, educational and corporate projects – new build, renovations and also interiors. The firm’s work is driven by desired user behaviours to develop elegant and successful solutions to involved design briefs. Barbora’s interests lie in promoting the value of Architecture and the role of Architects to the public. A former RAIC Syllabus mentor Barbora now sits on the Programme Advisory Committee at George Brown College where she is also a part-time professor.

ExpandDelnaz Yekrangian

Delnaz Yekrangian

Delnaz Yekrangian is the founder and director of Aleph-Bau. Aleph-Bau is an architecture and design studio experimenting with poetics of architecture in anything and everything from materials to cities. The studio is based in Toronto  and operates in collaboration with international artists, engineers, thinkers, writers, planners, lawyers, builders and craftsmen engaged in critical design and construction. Using interior spaces, buildings, cityscapes, furniture, objects and installations as medium, its mission is to amplify the sensory, imaginative and intellectual relationship to the environment.

 Prior to starting Aleph-Bau in 2009, Delnaz worked at OMA (Rotterdam) and SOM (San Francisco). She has had an instrumental role in award winning architecture and urban design projects in North America, Europe, UK, the Middle East and China. Her professional experience extends from re-use of heritage buildings and abandoned sites (Commonwealth Institute, London, at OMA) to marriage of tall structures with urban infrastructure (Transbay Tower, San Francisco, at SOM).

Delnaz Yekrangian teaches design studios and seminars at the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Waterloo and writes on architecture and pedagogy for the Memar magazine in Iran.

She has undertaken extensive research on revitalization of underutilized urban spaces including deteriorating historic cities of Iran while studying at Beheshti University in Tehran, University of Toronto, and Harvard GSD.