Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Expanding Architecture: Design-Build and Social Mission

Design Expo, Home Show, and Word on the Street, Toronto events, Collage: Our Busman's Holiday Inspiration:
Design Expo, Home Show, and Word on the Street
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Our Busman's Holiday Inspiration: Design Expo, Home Show, and Word on the Street
I had a busman’s holiday over the weekend – IIDEX/Neocon Canada, the Toronto Fall Home Show and Word on the Street.

I am exhausted but inspired: so many great things for Wo-Built!!!! Maybe it was design, build and social mission days. The three pillars of our company.

On Friday I went to Canada's national design expo and conference, IIDEX/NeoCon Canada and I really enjoyed seeing so many great interior design elements, I hadn’t seen before. I loved ThinkGlass’s glass countertop, the new innovative LED light fixtures from Lumo: very European, some really cool signage from MediaGraph and the living wall systems by TropicsNorth, just to name a few. On a more practical note I was impressed by Evonik Industries acrylic building materials. Maybe something we will use for covering decks and patios as it is very versatile.

But the most interesting for me was the DIRTT’s (DIRTT = Doing It Right This Time) booth. We are very interested in using partitions in offices, but their system is much more versatile: it can be used for the residential as well as the non-residential projects. They had beds hanging off their partitions, a fire place, wine racks, shelving, a version of a living wall and many more practical items; so many I cannot remember them all. It was an impressive showcasing of their innovations, products, and trends.

The Toronto Fall Home Show
on Saturday had a few surprises as well. One was the Lumon balcony glazing system, which enables enclosing existing balconies and patios and making them three-season spaces. Look out, we definitely will incorporate this into our designs where appropriate. Also kudos to my fellow BILD members who were there and either had a booth or showed their work at the BILD renovation booth. Great work!

But the most fruitful for our social missions was the Word on the Street festival. I had never been and was astonished at the selection of independent publishers. I got a range of books, from community organizing (Community organizing: a holistic approach, by Joan Kuyek) via green politics (The no-nonsense guide to green politics, by Derek Wall) to a comic book (This will all end in tears, by Joe Ollmann). Lots to read which might further Wo-Built’s causes. But the find I am most happy with: A collection of quotations by Frank Lloyd Wright on architecture, nature, and the human spirit.

A current personal favourite Frank Lloyd Wright quote on architecture is from 1957, maybe because it resonates with what we try to do for our clients and our community: "The mission of an architect is to help people understand how to make life more beautiful, the world a better one for living in, and to give reason, rhyme and meaning to life."

Maybe what I learned and still will absorb from this past weekend will bring us closer toward our goal to be the best builder while doing good.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

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