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Ottawa Architecture Week presents Underwater: Weathering the New Normal—09.28.19 to 10.08.19

By Chris Cormier on September 24, 2019

Starting Saturday September 28th and continuing through Tuesday October 8th comes the 2019 installment of Ottawa Architecture Week (OAW). Geared towards both industry professionals and the general public alike, OAW explores a different theme every year. Past themes have included Gimmie Shelter, Beyond 150 – “technically beautiful” yet?, Ottawa’s Pedestrian Revolution, and The City & The Capital.

This year the theme is Underwater: Weathering the New Normal and it aims to explore the strained relationship we have with the natural environment as a direct result of man-made climate change. Considering the record flooding and the six (!) tornados that hit the National Capital Region in 2018, this topic is not only timely in relation to international events but is also extremely poignant to Ottawans. Supported by the Ottawa Regional Society of Architects (ORSA), this year’s architecture week has a wide variety of events scheduled including lectures, tours, workshops, and much more.

I have compiled a number of events below that I believe are particularly interesting. Please note that while the vast majority of these events are free and suitable for all ages, most require you to RSVP prior to the event to confirm your attendance. Please visit the OAW website for more information and to secure your spot.

Saturday September 28 and Sunday September 29

Future Homes: Youth Design Workshop (Free Admission – registration required, downtown and Orleans, Ages 10-16)

This event let’s junior designers work with instructors to design and build models of their future-proof dream homes which need to withstand the coming onslaught of floods, heavy rain, and storms. Afterwards the models are put to the test through simulated weather events and the results are put on display during the rest of OAW.

Monday September 30

Forum Lecture: City Nature (Free admission, all ages)

The Opening event of OAW 2019 is also part of the Carleton Azrieli School of Architecture’s Forum Lecture Series which features Architect Rasmus Astrup of the Copenhagen-based firm SLA speaking about their award winning THE SOUL OF NØRREBRO, “which uses nature-based climate adaptation solutions to create new hydrological, biological and social ecosystems for Inner Nørrebro.”

Opening Night Reception (Free admission, all ages, cash bar)

Hosted at the SAW Gallery this event will feature art, light snacks, music, and architecture.

Tuesday October 1

Movie Night – Double Bill ($4 donation as admission – registration required, Cash bar, All ages)

A double bill featuring Great Architecture on a Small Planet (2019) and The Human Shelter (2018).

Wednesday October 2

Tour: Follow The Raindrop (Free admission – registration required, All ages)

Presented with the Envirocentre, attendees will learn about the life and path of a raindrop as it works its way from your property all the way to the Ottawa river. Rainwater management is of critical importance in urban environments and examples of good rainwater management will be on display.

Thursday October 3

Panel Discussion: Blueprints to our Eco-footprints (Free admission – registration required, All ages, Cash Bar)

The keynote event of OAW 2019, this panel discussion will explore how architecture and the construction industry have enormous impacts on our ecological footprint. The built environment is a huge contributor to man-made climate change yet it is an inextricable part of human existence. Given Architecture’s ability to imagine better ways of living it is our duty to adopt a ecologically-driven building methods because our very existence depends on it.

Friday October 4

Pecha Kucha OAW Edition (Free admission – registration required, 19+, Cash bar)

An informal lecture format developed in Japan in the early 2000s, Pecha Kucha nights give presenters exactly 20 seconds to speak on each of their 20 slides. This edition features talks from local artists, architects, and designers.

Saturday October 5

Building 22 Launch Party (Free admission, Cash Bar, 19+)

This is the launch of the 19th edition of Building 22, the Carleton Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism’s
annual publication showcasing the best work produced at the school during the previous academic year.


Ottawa Architecture Week runs from September 28th to October 8th. Locations, schedules and other information can be found on their website or their Facebook page.