August 2012

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AUGUST 2012 / VOLUME 26 / NUMBER 4 PERSPECTIVE EDITOR ART DIRECTOR CONTRIBUTING WRITERS by Samuel Oboh, MRAIC RAIC Regional Director for Alberta / Northwest Territories Architecture: Beyond Instincts, Intentions and Intuitions W hat's in a story? A few years ago while conducting research for the University of Alberta on the expressive communication attributes of the architecture of the Alberta Legislature Building, a number of stories emanating from the research caught my attention. I must confess I had expected the thrust of the research to revolve around the architecture of the legislature building but was rather astounded by the stories that emerged. Title: Macdonald Hotel Bridges – Low Level Bridge Dates of Creation: 1939 Photographer / Creator: H.A. Hollingworth Image Number: EA-160-949. City of Edmonton Archives My expectation was to hear stories about the magnificence, splendor and creative classical detailing of the Legislature Building and how it compares with other similar Beaux Arts-styled buildings found in North America, or about the creativity of the architect, Allan Merrick Jeffers, in bringing the presence of such a modest five-storey neoclassical landmark to prominence when it was completed in 1912. What a letdown! I was inundated with the intrigues that occurred in the building, one of them about William Aberhart. In 1935, William Aberhart (a school principal, Baptist preacher and radio evangelist), stomped into power as Alberta's premier. His exceptional ability to swagger and invoke the tenets of morally justifiable divine retribution earned him the nickname Bible Bill. His desire to improve the lives of Albertans was never in doubt but it would 6/ p.06-07RAIC.indd 6 be his innovative take on an obscure economic theory of paying a 'basic dividend' of $25 per month to every adult Albertan that would earn him his place in history. In the late 1930s, Bible Bill, with the help of his fellow politicians, passed laws that would have put the banking and credit industries under provincial control and essentially restricted freedom of the press. These laws were later declared ultra vires (i.e. unconstitutional). It was on record that when Alberta's lieutenant governor William Walsh refused to grant royal assent to the laws, Bible Bill responded by shutting off all utilities to the lieutenant governor's residence during the winter. Consequently, the astute royal representative was forced to move to the Hotel Macdonald in downtown Edmonton. Imagine how brutally cold Edmonton's winter could feel in a building without electricity and heat. At hearing the plight of the lieutenant governor, I thought, "Thank goodness for the Hotel Macdonald's architects!" I had to make the connection that architecture really mattered in this story and my link is the strikingly regal chateau-styled Hotel Macdonald – named after Canada's first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, and designed by the renowned firm Ross and Macdonald – plush enough to keep the lieutenant governor safe from being afflicted with frostbite. In effect, the architect saved the day! For decades, architects have nurtured, cultured and cultivated insular instinctive processes that make it difficult for the public to understand what we do, why we do it and how we do it. Consequently, our intention to create pleasing, useful and coherent built environments always falls short in the face of the insularity of the way we engage the public as a profession. Hence the types or lack of stories that emerged in my research. This conundrum needs to be overcome. We must go through a shift in our instinctive processes to enable our expectations, intentions and intuitions to align. We must transform the profession from insular-instinctive and process-driven to knowledge- and evidence-based supported by sharp intuitive perception, where research and development is held up to high esteem. Simply put, we should at all times be able to empirically and scientifically demonstrate and prove how the schools that we design help make students learn better or how the hospitals we plan help promote healing or how the office space we propose enhances productivity. Sharpening our innate ability as architects to perceive intuitively with knowledge that can be replicated and empirically proven will make architecture matter more. Such transformation will help us tell our story better and demonstrate that Architecture matters. ■ Shannon Miller Laurel MacLean Angela Altass Bill Armstrong John Atkinson Luigi Benetton Robin Brunet Godfrey Budd Stacey Carefoot Heidi Castle Jerry Eberts Lawrence Herzog Laurie Jones Jessica Kirby Lauren Kramer Stacey McLachlan Dan O'Reilly Christine Peets Irwin Rapoport Leslie C. Smith Kim Wooder CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Tom Arban Chris Bolin Reuben Krabbe/Lumic Photo Maris Mezulis Robert Stefanowicz PRODUCTION MANAGER STUDIO MANAGER ASSISTANT STUDIO MANAGER PRODUCTION COORDINATOR PRODUCTION SYSTEMS MANAGER ADVERTISING PRODUCTION Suzy Williamson Kristina Borys Mandy Lau Julie Reynolds Kim McLane Allison Griffioen, Mandy Lau, Chris Sherwood Ina Bowerbank Debbie Lynn Craig Bernhard Holzmann, Laura Michaels Dan Chapman Alexander Sugden Queenie Blumenthal ELECTRONIC PRODUCTION SENIOR IMAGING TECHNICIAN ELECTRONIC IMAGING PUBLISHER ACCOUNT MANAGER ADVERTISING COORDINATOR AWARD MAGAZINE – HEAD OFFICE Phone 604.299.7311 Fax 604.299.9188 CHAIRMAN, CEO PRESIDENT VICE PRESIDENT/PRODUCTION VICE PRESIDENT VICE PRESIDENT/EDITORIAL VICE PRESIDENT/FINANCE VICE PRESIDENT VICE PRESIDENT/ MARKETING & DIGITAL MEDIA DIRECTOR/CIRCULATION DIRECTOR/SALES OPERATIONS DIRECTOR/BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR/IT EDITORIAL OPERATIONS MANAGER DIGITAL MEDIA SENIOR MARKETING MANAGER MARKETING MANAGER MARKETING COORDINATOR MARKETING & MEDIA STRATEGIST INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY APPLICATION SUPPORT ANALYST ACCOUNTING CIRCULATION MANAGER CIRCULATION EXECUTIVE ASSISTANTS RECEPTION Peter Legge, O.B.C., ll.d (hon) Gary Davies Corinne Smith Samantha Legge, mba Kathleen Freimond Farnaz Riahi Rebecca Legge (on leave) Holly Pateman Scott Wheatley Rhea Attar Shannon Emmerson Mike Packer Mike Roberts Piushi Ariyawansa, Yau Bing Chong, Kristen Hilderman, Elaine Linsao, Lisa Manfield, James Marshall, Huong Nguyen, Michael Small, Candice Ui, Alonso Ysa Tamara Johnston (on leave) Joanne DaSilva Natasha Gowda Casey Crawford Brian Fakhraie Eileen Gajowski Rita French, Eileen Gajowski, Joy Ginete-Cockle, Terri Mason, Sonia Roxburgh, Jocelyn Snelling Tracy McRitchie Ashley Cleggett, Millie Coskun, Ginger Jessamine, Kelly Kalirai, Ruth Pisko, Isabelle Ringham, Anny Yu Heidi Christie, Jackie Lee Maria Vlasenko Award magazine is published six times a year by Canada Wide Media Limited. Head office: 4th Floor - 4180 Lougheed Highway, Burnaby, B.C. V5C 6A7. Phone 604.299.7311, Fax 604.299.9188. Send covers of undeliverable copies to address above. Publications Mail Agreement No. 40065475. © 2012. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. Award is distributed to architects, interior designers, landscape architects, consulting engineers, specification writers, development companies and major construction companies throughout Western Canada and Ontario. For subscription information call 604.299.1023 or email: awardsubscriptions@ National Library No. ISSN 1202-5925. Printed in Canada by Transcontinental LGM Graphics. Award magazine welcomes your letters, corporate announcements or company information. The statements, opinions and points of view expressed in articles published in this magazine are those of the authors and publication shall not be deemed to mean that they are necessarily those of the publisher, editor or Canada Wide Media Limited. The acceptance and publication of advertisement of products and services does not indicate endorsement of such products or services. The publishers cannot be held responsible for unsolicited manuscripts and photographs. AUGUST 2012 7/13/12 9:48 AM

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