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Shedding light on Architecture Week

By Alejandro Bustos on September 22, 2012

Architecture is like frozen music, the famous German poet Goethe once said.

This delightful image seems apt for Ottawa’s Architecture Week, an annual event that allows local residents to contemplate the beauty in buildings and design.

Organized by the Ottawa Regional Society of Architects (ORSA), this year’s eclectic program runs from September 24-30 and consists of public lectures, a bicycle tour, a pub crawl, a special children’s event, a movie screening and an art exhibit of light installations.

“This year we changed it up a bit,” says Richard Smith, the chair of Architecture Week. “It’s the first time we engaged with a different discipline, which is lighting design. That’s how it’s different from the past when we had Architecture Week only for architects.”

The light installations will include the work of local artists Kenneth Emig of Enriched Bread Artists and Andrew O’Malley. Christine Fagan and Marianne Dupont of InTempo Design are also listed as participants.

“(Lighting) is an integral part of architecture,” explains Smith, when asked about the art show. “We didn’t want architecture to be only about the building.”

The light exhibit is free and runs parallel to lunchtime and evening lectures on architecture-related themes. Smith particularly recommends the 6pm talk on September 24th by Paul Mercier on the integration of architecture and light, and the September 27th lunchtime discussion by Phil Gabriel on excellent lighting design.

All events take place at Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts at 310 Saint Patrick Street in the Byward Market unless otherwise noted. Interested folks can show up half an hour before the start of a lecture, and if they want to see the lighting exhibit can then stay as long as they like.

“When people exit the doors, we will turn the lights off,” says Smith.

Every lecture is free with the exception of Bruce Meiklejohn’s talk on September 26th, and the ORSA members-only event on September 27th.

Other interesting events include a Saturday morning bike tour (you can register here) that will teach participants about green buildings and spaces in the city, as well as a Saturday evening pub crawl.

“It’s the first time we are doing (a pub crawl), so it’s totally informal,” says Smith. “We will start at Saint Brigid’s and make our way through the market.”

The week will conclude with a special event for children on Sunday, September 30th, between 9am – 1pm at the Canada Science and Technology Museum.

“Last year the kids’ event was the most successful,” says Smith. “Around 200 hundred showed up to build bird homes. This year we are building lighthouses.”