125th Anniversary Dialogues: The Future of Creativity



On Saturday May 30, 2015, the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto celebrated its 125-year-history with an exhibition reflecting on the Faculty’s past, and panel discussions featuring alumni and faculty members, and an evening cocktail reception at the Royal Ontario Museum where alumni could mingle and reminisce.

“The Future of Creativity” featured alumni Claude Cormier (BLA 1986) and Jimenez Lai (MArch 2007) as well as Daniels Faculty member Benjamin Dillenburger. The discussion was moderated by Lisa Steele, Director of the Visual Studies Program at Daniels. It was one of four dialogues on the work of our faculty and alumni, and the new modes of practice that they, together with our students, hope to model and instigate.

Claude Cormier, BLA 1986
Based in Montreal Claude Cormier + Associés is a second-generation conceptualist Landscape Architectural firm. Over the years, the company has acquired a solid reputation noted for his originality and creativity. Cormier’s work challenges ordinary perceptions of the world, opening eyes to new possibilities and generating an appetite for the extra-ordinary. Rendering visible the invisible of the everyday, his projects seek to reawaken the joy of phenomena through an apparent simplicity that is complex, but not complicated. Landscape architecture is used to create an experience that embodies humor, subversion, and pleasure. Colour, often delivering a punch in his works, contributes to their peculiarity and seductive allure. Yet colour is only one aspect of his conceptual approach. Above all else, Cormier’s practice demands authenticity, often invoking the mantra “Artificial, but not fake.”

Jimenez Lai, MArch 2007
Jimenez Lai is a faculty member at UCLA. He graduated with a Master of Architecture from the University of Toronto. Previously, Jimenez Lai lived and worked in a desert shelter at Taliesin and resided in a shipping container at Atelier Van Lieshout on the piers of Rotterdam. Before founding Bureau Spectacular, Lai worked for various international offices, including OMA. Lai is widely exhibited and published around the world, including the MoMA-collected White Elephant. Lai has won various awards, including the Architectural League Prize for Young Architects and Debut Award at the Lisbon Triennale. In 2014, Lai designed the Taiwan Pavilion at the 14th Venice Architectural Biennale.

Benjamin Dillenburger, Daniels Faculty
Benjamin Dillenburger is a practicing architect and assistant professor in architecture at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto. He previously worked as a senior lecturer in the CAAD group at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology’s architecture department in Zurich. Benjamin was finalist of the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program 2015. His projects include the Digital Grotesque installation at the FRAC Archilab 2013 exhibition. He recently exhibited work at the Design Exchange Museum in Toronto and the Art Basel / Design in Miami.

Moderator: Lisa Steele, Daniels Faculty
Lisa Steele is the Director of the Visual Studies Program at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. Lisa works in video, photography, film and performance as well as writing and curating on video and media arts. Her videotapes are in many collections including: The National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Houston, Texas, Ingrid Oppenheim, Concordia University in Montreal, Newcastle Polytechnic in England, Paulo Cardazzo in Milan, the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, the Akademie der Kunst in Berlin, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. She is a co-founder of Vtape, a Toronto media arts resource centre.

For more information about the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto, visit us at http://www.daniels.utoronto.ca

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