In 2017, as Canadians celebrate 150 years of Confederation, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada also marks an important milestone – its 110th anniversary. It was founded in 1907 for the advancement of architecture in this country, with the first Congress taking place in Montreal. Even as we celebrate our rich history, our focus is the future and how the RAIC can best serve its members, Canada’s architecture community, and the built environment.
The priority of 2017 is to research the changing needs of our members and the larger architectural community ensuring that our member experiences are relevant, provide value and encourage belonging. I invite younger members to help make the change. New generations can make a difference, and RAIC provides opportunities to learn and to lead.
The consultation comes at a time of growth for the RAIC in many areas, including practice support, advocacy, and recognition of excellence. The 2017 Festival of Architecture, taking place in Ottawa May 24-27 is anticipated to have high attendance as the RAIC works in concert with the Ontario Association of Architects to present an engaging schedule of events. I look forward to welcoming architects from across Canada at this exceptional event.
It is perhaps a difficult challenge for architects is to realize that good design is not enough. I believe advocacy can protect the future talents of the profession, and that’s why I believe the RAIC is important. We are well positioned to address today’s increasing priorities: the environment, health, and sustainability. Our current initiatives address this.
For example, we are thrilled to present the First International Indigenous Architecture and Design Symposium at Festival 2017, organized by the RAIC Indigenous Task Force, as well an education session on design for healthy aging, put forward by the RAIC’s Aging-in-Place Task Force.
In 2017, I will continue to build and support the work of these groups and other programs such as the Committee on Regenerative Environments and the Emerging Practitioners group. This year we will undertake a revision of the Canadian Handbook of Practice and renewal of the Syllabus program with Athabasca University. Document Six 2017, now completed by the Practice Support Committee, will be ready for release by April.
On the international stage, the second cycle of the Moriyama RAIC International Prize is currently underway. When the call for submissions ends March 8, a distinguished jury will review the entries, and a winner will be announced at a gala in Toronto on September 19.
My hopes and expectations for the year ahead include strengthening pride in architects, highlighting the importance of their work, and encouraging diversity and inclusiveness in the profession. Together, we will strive to show that architecture helps people live better lives by awakening the senses and stimulating the mind.
I invite members to dream about what the future holds for them, to contribute to this institute, to bring about significant change, and to leave a lasting legacy.