Ontario Architects Disappointed by New Culture Strategy

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Tuesday, May 31st, 2016
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Architects and designers are feeling slighted by Ontario’s draft culture strategy.

“Architecture and design are so important to our culture,” said Alex Josephson, co-founder of architecture studio PARTISANS. “It’s just crazy they’re not included.”

The province began public consultations in September on a strategy to strengthen cultural practice and fuel the “creative economy.”

However, when the draft document was released in April, the architecture community, including the Ontario Association of Architects, was shocked to see it failed to even mention the word architecture.

“It is baffling, if not humiliating,” Josephson said. “Buildings are very powerful things that condition our people and our culture and there is political, social and cultural relevance to everything we construct as a society.”

Josephson said he and his colleagues are tired of being ignored.

“It makes it difficult to advance the profession and the field of design when we’re not recognized as important drivers of the economy, of culture, of our identity as Canadians.”

In England, France, Denmark, architects and designers help define the national brand, he said, and the public supports their work through research and funding grants.

No such support exists in Canada, Josephson said.

“We are left to essentially fund innovation on our own.”

A petition organized by the Ontario Association of Architects calling for the government to amend the culture strategy to include architecture and design had almost 1,000 signatures including a long list of prominent Canadian architects.

An Ontario government spokesperson told Metro the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport is reviewing more than 250 submissions responding to the draft before the final document is released in June.

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