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2015 RAIC architecture festival fosters a sense of community

Angie Sauve
2015 RAIC architecture festival fosters a sense of community

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) hosts an annual festival of architecture with the purpose of uniting architects from across the country to network, continue their education with professional development courses, and to recognize excellence through various honours and awards ceremonies.

The 2015 festival, hosted in conjunction with the Alberta Association of Architects (AAA), will take place in Calgary from June 3-6 at the Hyatt Regency hotel. The festival theme is (Re)generation + Integration,  which embraces the value of exploring opportunities for collaboration and inclusivity in architecture.

"One of the most tangible benefits of the annual festival and the RAIC itself are the relationships we forge and the community we create," says RAIC President Sam Oboh, FRAIC. "This sense of community makes us stronger, personally and professionally."

This year, we are proud to include interior designers. The conference focuses on architects’ and interior designers’ contributions to the built environment, sustainable urban development and social commitment.

Special guests and speakers include Vassilis Sgoutas, a renowned Greek architect, Zita Cobb, the founder of Fogo Island Inn and President of Shorefast Foundation, and  Brian MacKay-Lyons, FRAIC, an acclaimed Canadian who is receiving the RAIC’s highest honour, the Gold Medal.

The RAIC strives to highlight excellence across a broad spectrum of accomplishments. Some of the other prestigious awards that will be presented during the festival are the Advocate for Architecture award, the Green Building award, and the Young Architect award. A full list of the RAIC’s awards of excellence is available at

This year 36 architects from 13 different cities will be inducted into the RAIC’s College of Fellows on June 4 at the Theatre Junction Grand. Members of the public are welcome to attend this 74-year-old ceremony infused with a grand sense of tradition. The College of Fellows bestows Fellowship in recognition of outstanding achievement. Criteria include design excellence, exceptional scholarly contribution or distinguished service to the profession or the community.

In addition to the courses, attendees can take advantage of tours of Calgary to take in the local architecture and culture, participate in the city’s Doors Open activities, and socialize at events like the President’s Dinner and Awards Gala.

Curator Adele Weder will host tours of the Ron Thom and the Allied Arts show at the Nickle Galleries at the University of Calgary, which explores the evolution of West Coast architect Ron Thom. The show presents never-before-exhibited materials including the original Massey College competition presentation boards and conceptual sketches, ceramics, vintage photographs, original furniture, prototypes, and film projections.

Nurturing future architects is a top priority for both the RAIC and the AAA. This year almost 30 students and intern architects have generously volunteered their time to help with the events and activities.

Festival attendees will see the result of the interns’ 2015 Urban Marker competition, won by a team of intern architects from Alberta. An interactive installation called The Public Speaker will be set up at various venues and will live broadcast festival sessions and presentations, allowing the general public to learn about architecture.

Allied organizations will congregate at the festival to discuss issues affecting the built environment. The RAIC Foundation, committed to advancing excellence and knowledge in Canadian architecture through advocacy and scholarships, will host a luncheon to announce its 2015 bursary recipients. The Canadian Architectural Licensing Authorities (CALA) will meet to discuss licensing and regulatory issues. A large firm roundtable will also take place in which Canadian firms will network and review important matters facing the profession.

Commercial industry leaders such as Velux Skylights & Sun Tunnels and reDiscover Concrete have acknowledged the importance of such a gathering of Canadian professionals by sponsoring the 2015 festival. Their support allows the RAIC and AAA to offer quality programming during the four-day event.

Given that the 2015 Festival of Architecture takes place on the traditional lands of Treaty Seven Nations, festival organizers have committed to a donation to the Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary as an expression of inclusion and respect.

Anyone interested in architecture and the built environment will find that the RAIC | AAA festival of architecture in Calgary has much to offer. For more information about the schedule of events or to register for the festival please visit Register for the RAIC | AAA festival of architecture before April 30 to take advantage of the early bird discount and save $300.

Angie Sauvé is RAIC membership and communications coordinator. Send email or comments to

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