Research Lab on Urban Landscapes and Architecture

Perspectives for a Conversation about Innovation by Alexander Manu


In this document strategic innovator Alexander Manu who is a professor in OCAD, talks about the power of imagination and an act of suspending habit as keys to creating the future that we desire.  By addressing the current trends in human behaviour and technology and putting the reader in an empowered position, he argues that human desire as a primary element which should be used to ask questions about everything that is around us not to just improve but to reinvent and truly shape “tomorrow.Perspectives4Innovation”


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Experiential Architecture Sparked by Gordon Grice at OCAD

Gordon Grice, a memeber of Ontario Association of Architects gave a lecture on October 2008.  Title of the lecture was Experiential Environmental Design.  While a lot of the lecture might be gearing towards which types of renderings work better, the topic of “experiential” architecture is interesting. Can we explore the relationship between people and spaces?

  • World view and personal view of space
  • Alternative world view: where we can begin to look at different culture to gain a new perspective
  • Spaces as places

img. The Blur Building, on Lake Neuchatel for Swiss Expo 2002  Architect: Diller Scofidio + Renfro

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Falstaff Charette

falstaff ave northyork

img. Falstaff Ave. North York

The Institute Without Boundaries is hosting a charette on the topic of affordable housing that is also sustainable which will begin Thursday November 5 2009.


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Once in a lifetime webcast on water protection – broadcast from space Friday, October 9 @8pm EDT

More Details at

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Forever or a Day

When we build, let us think that we build forever.
Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone.
Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for;
and let us think, as we lay stone on stone,
that a time is to come when those stones will be held
sacred because our hands have touched them,
and that men will say, as they look upon
the labor and wrought substance of them,
“See! This our father did for us.”

—John Ruskin

Many people have movingly spoken about the importance of making things that we treasure, that last, that we would be proud to pass on.  I tend to agree with all of them, except that, as a product designer, I can’t ignore all the things that don’t need to, or shouldn’t last forever.  Our lives are filled with detritus, because we don’t have good ways of getting rid of things:  plastic bags, Bic pens, razors, bottle caps, mice, keyboards, light bulbs, toys,  are all things that are very awkward to dispose of.  What we should concentrate on, in addition to making things last(again), is to make things really disposable, with full cognizance of the implications.  Pepsi lowered the water table in India when it started shipping syrup instead of the retail product.  On paper, a lighter package using less water seems like a smart solution.  The full ramifications don’t reveal themselves until later.  The bottling of beer in North America affects the volume of water in the Great Lakes.  Similarly, products you can dispose of in your back garden could also represent a dramatic movement of nutrient/mass around the world.  I don’t have an answer, but my feeling is that a real recycling system (and that requires materials that can really be recycled), coupled with a focus on local materials, would be a start.

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Design with Intent – A blog on design that influences behaviour

From the layout of shopping malls to digital rights management, our everyday lives are full of examples of products, systems and environments which have been designed to shape, guide or control – influence – our behaviour, using a wide range of techniques: technological, physical or psychological.

Intended commercial benefit is a major reason behind this; intended social benefit can be too (though it’s often fraught with politics). Sometimes the behaviour-shaping is helpful to the user; sometimes it’s serving someone else against the user’s best interests. Sometimes it’s trying to get the user to do something; sometimes it’s trying to stop the user doing something.

The common factor to all of this is intent on the part of the designer/engineer/planner or his or her corporate/political masters. This is Design with Intent: strategic design that’s intended to influence or result in certain user behaviour.

These presentations I gave at Persuasive 2008, Persuasive 2009, and Skillswap Brighton give a quick run-through of the background to the Design with Intent concept and how it’s developed, with examples from different fields, as do these papers.

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Ryerson M. Arch Thesis Reviews

Here’s an event that seems interesting.

DATES | 16-30 October

LOCATION | Rm ARC202 (The PIT), Ryerson University Architecture Building, 325 Church Street, Toronto

DESCRIPTION | The first graduates of the Ryerson University’s Master of Architecture Program publicly present their theses. All are welcome to attend.

16 October | Ben Gaum 10:00 AM | David Platt 11:00 AM | William Harispuru 1:00 PM | Jorge Silva 2:00 PM | Thesis Exhibition Reception 4:00 PM

27 October | Joginder Dhanjal 1:00 PM | Roman Pevcevicius 2:00 PM | Roy Basso 3:00 PM | Mark Siemecki 4:00 PM | Timothy Mitanidis 5:00 PM

29 October | Robert Coelho 10:00 AM | Leila Mazhari 11:00 AM | Sander Waxman 1:00 PM | Clayton Payer 2:00 PM
Jordan Breccia 3:00 PM

30 October | Johann Atterbury 1:00 PM | Lawrence Ng 2:00 PM

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Design Exchange has partnered with Roxul to challenge Canadian Architecture andInterior Design students to recreate a living

space within a home.

The challenge is to create a living space, using the provided plan of a typical unfinished
.  The space may be designed to contain any combination of a small washroom,
laundry facilities, a home theatre system, a small home office area, and a convertible
area to accommodate overnight guests.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Rebar posts can be published at anytime.

Subject categories are welcome. So far only two categories exist.

Please contact me if you have trouble connecting to site.

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Design of a University Residence Building

International Student Competition for the Design of a University Residence Building
Location:  Toronto, Canada

The site is located on the campus of Ryerson University. The residence building will  provide housing and related facilities for a representative cross section of the University’s population, including students, faculty, administrative staff, and visiting scholars. The site and competition brief call for creative thinking in terms of the conception of affordable, high-rise accommodation for university campuses situated in dense, inner-city conditions.

Things to consider

  • Has the idea of the university changed over time?
  • Has the residence changed in relation to the university?
  • Can the design of the residence enhance students’ learning experience?
  • Can it help build the surrounding community?
  • Can a student residence act as a catalyst for positive change and renewal of the environment?

Deadline: Before December 28 2009

Registration is soon

October 16 2009

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October 2009
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