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Photo by Chris Cormier.

Ottawa Architecture Week: Technically beautiful yet?

By Chris Cormier on September 25, 2017





Post by Chris Cormier. Chris is an Intern Architect and Photographer trying to experience everything Ottawa has to offer. He has no relation to renowned Landscape Architect Claude Cormier, but he does get that question a lot. You can follow him on Instagram @archoftheenemy.

This Monday September 25 marks the start of one of my favorite weeks of the year: Ottawa Architecture Week (OAW). Each year, OAW explores a different theme related to architecture and design in Ottawa in a way that is engaging for professionals in the field and approachable to the general public. Some past themes include Ottawa’s Pedestrian Revolution, The City & The Capital, and Gimmie Shelter.

For this year, the event’s 29th edition, the theme is Beyond 150 — “technically beautiful” yet? The tagline “technically beautiful” is a tongue in cheek reference to the city’s failed attempt in 2001 to come up with a single marketing tagline “Ottawa: technically beautiful.” What felt like more of an underhanded compliment in 2001 resurfaces in 2017 as an important topic of conversation. With emerging technologies rapidly changing how we interact with the city and each other (think AirBnB, Uber, selfie sticks, Bitcoin), what does this mean for architecture and the built environment? Ottawa, as a technological hub, is in a position to be at the forefront of these developments and the Ottawa Regional Society of Architects is using this year’s architecture week to open up the conversation around this topic.

There is a wide array of events happening throughout the week including art installations, lectures, tours and much, much more. For the uninitiated, I have compiled a selection of my “must-see” events below, broken down by date.

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.

All Week

Ludic Fields (Multiple locations, Free admission, All ages)

An interactive art installation that connects three different Ottawa locations (Ogilvy Square, Baseline and Blair Transitway stations) by using motion sensors to transmit activity in real time across the city.


Collaboration and Innovation: Recent Work and Beyond (Free admission, All ages)

The inaugural lecture of the 2017-2018 Forum Lecture Series presented by the Carleton Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism, Calvin Smith and Anthony Fieldman of HOK Toronto will present on the future of Canadian Architecture.

OAW 2017 Opening Night (Free Admission, Cash Bar, 19+)

The official Ottawa Architecture Week launch party at Oz Kafe’s new Byward Market location at 10 York Street.


Beyond 150 – “technically beautiful” yet? (Free admission, Cash bar, All ages)

The keynote event of OAW 2017, a panel discussion on emerging technologies and their effect on the built environment.


An Evening with Claude Cormier (Free Admission, All ages)

Part of the Capital Urbanism Lab presented by OAW, the National Capital Commission, and Ottawa’s Urban Forum, Claude Cormier will be presenting recent work as one of Canada’s leading Landscape Architects.


Government Conference Centre Rehabilitation Tour (Free Admission, All Ages)

Get behind the scenes access to this Ottawa landmark as it undergoes its conversion into a temporary office space for the Senate.


Pecha Kucha OAW Edition (Free Admission, Cash Bar, All Ages)

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.


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

This is the launch of the 17th 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 25-30. Locations, schedules and other information can be found on their website or on Facebook.