The University of BC’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture graduating class hosted Salon 2019, a very professional and stimulating exhibition of their Masters’ thesis works at Dudoc. As likely key players in future urban developments, Dudoc was pleased that the SALA grads chose the Walas Innovation Center for their weekend event that included thought-provoking panels about designing affordably and also current media impact on architecture.
Numerous industry professionals reflected on the exceptional quality of the Masters projects. At the Opening Celebration, Dean Ross Kellet recognized the calibre of the individual works and praised the event organizers as this graduation weekend was the first one completely coordinated by students. A dynamo core trio from SALA’s architecture and landscape architecture programs plus many volunteers ensured the graduates works were well exhibited and that they were accompanied by dynamic talks and panels with established and creative presenters.
The exhibition – The weekend was an opportunity to view 70 students drawings’ and explanations highlighting their thesis visions while some also created models and inventive videos. The themes varied widely. Established urban initiatives from cities such as New York were jumping off points for some projects while BC’s wilderness and smaller communities inspired others to plan for the future.
Presentations – Throughout the weekend, leading architects, planners and other industry innovators provided some provocative and also thoughtful ideas in very diverse presentations. Known for turning architectural debate on its head, Vancouver’s outspoken Turncoats group provoked discussion on the “ego maniacal architectural design culture which has little concern for investigative or critical practice”! Focusing on Vanity Publishing, one group criticized the barrage of click-bait, Starchitecture’s narcissism and the current pre-occupation with social media analytics while the other side defended the importance of profile publishing for architects.
Architectural publishing was an important theme for the weekend. The grads were thrilled to have Houston-based Reto Geiser talk about his collaborative design practice including his redesign of the Chicago Architectural Biennial’s exhibition bookshop. His books and some designed and published by the students were displayed in the exhibition.
The Sunday afternoon panel focussed on “Designing Affordability: Provocations for Housing in Vancouver”. Partnering with Urbanarium for Smart Cities and 221A, a group which works with designers and artists to research and develop social, cultural and ecological infrastructure, Salon 2019’s seven member panel provided fresh insights into the affordability issue which is a continual challenge in this City.
Outdoors – The weekend was both an indoor and outdoors event. Dudoc’s shared neighbourhood parklet was playfully decorated by the landscape architecture team. The venue was enjoyed by all generations and conversations continued except for Friday evening when the television crew shooting exteriors next door shouted “Silence on the Set”! While not related to SALA, this mainstream television shoot added to the magic of Friday evening’s celebration event.
Not surprisingly, many of this creative, energetic group of grads have already moved into jobs within the industry! We wish them well and look forward to seeing their impact on future cities.