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If the New Year brought a craving for new knowledge and inspiration, you’re in luck. Many major design institutions, fairs and festivals are hitting the ground running with a great lineup of lectures and panels featuring some of our favourite industry luminaries. So pull out your crisp new 2024 agenda (or scroll to a new page of your digital calendar) and mark down the dates below. Here are 11 upcoming 2024 architecture and design talks you need to know about.

For additional architecture and design lectures and other happenings, visit azuremagazine.com/events

Photo by Maxime Brouillet
Renée Daoust and Rachel Stecke — “35 Years: From the City to the Object”

When: January 17
Where: Ottawa, ON; Carleton University; Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre

Architects Renée Daoust and Rachel Stecke of Montreal firm Daoust Lestage Lizotte Stecker will discuss (among other things) the role of water and vegetation as design elements — an idea that the duo successfully explored in their recent project Expérience Chute, which was a 2022 AZ Awards finalist.

Talar Sarkissian

When: January 18
Where: New York, NY; Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; Wood Auditorium

Columbia’s GSAPP is dedicating its spring programming to the topic of real estate. Its first speaker is Talar Sarkissian, a director of industrial development at Oxford Properties. Along with overseeing some 310 acres of industrial buildings, Talar established Oxford’s North American Industrial Sustainability Strategy and Decarbonization Plan.

Interior Design Show (IDS) Toronto

When: January 18-21
Where: Toronto, ON; Metro Toronto Convention Centre

We might be a bit biased, but when it comes to this year’s edition of Toronto’s Interior Design Show (IDS), we’d say that AZURE Talks Trade Day is set to be a major highlight. On January 19, our editorial team will lead a series of engaging discussions with a star group of speakers — including architectural photographers Ema Peter and Younes Bounhar, Salone Satellite founder Marva Griffin, and inflated metal furniture designer Oskar Zieta. 

Beyond the main stage, the IDS conference program is also packed with VIP guests. On Thursday morning at 9 am, Shim-Sutcliffe co-founder Brigitte Shim joins Alterra CEO Robert Cooper for a seminar titled Co-Creation — The Next Level of Collaboration. Using the Ace Hotel Toronto as a case study, the duo will discuss how architects, designers and developers can work together more collaboratively to achieve exciting results. Any out-of-town visitors who are booked to stay at the Ace Hotel Toronto will surely appreciate the extra insight into their accommodations.

Toronto's Port Lands with the skyline in the distance
Photo by Vid Ingelevics and Ryan Walker
Vid Ingelevics and Ryan Walker — “Our Changing Port Lands – Documenting Toronto’s Journey to Climate Resiliency”

When: January 21
Where: Toronto, ON; Royal Ontario Museum

Vid Ingelevics and Ryan Walker — the photographic duo behind the cover photo that graced Azure’s 300th issue — have been recording the revitalization of Toronto’s Port Lands for the past few years. Here, they speak with Soren Brothers, the ROM’s Allan and Helaine Shiff Curator of Climate Change, on watching the area’s transformation from post-industrial landscape to restored river valley — and how that’s positioning Toronto as a leader in climate resiliency.

Image by Joel One
DesignTO Talks: Dematerialized

When: January 24-25
Where: Online

DesignTO’s ninth annual symposium adopts the theme “Dematerialized,” looking at how our increasingly digital world is driving design in new, less physical, directions. Speakers will include Alex Yueyan Li (a co-principal of Toronto- and Boston-based firm 11×17), cyberethnographer Ruby Thelot and artist Skawennati, a co-director of the research network Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace.

For those in Toronto, the broader DesignTO festival also includes plenty of in-person talks. Look for architecture and interior design studio Odami discussing their work for Aesop at the brand’s Yorkville location, plus artist and architect Reza Nik recording a live episode of SHEEEP Radio’s EX•PER•I•MENT•ER•S with Adé Abegunde, Lara Hassani and Michael Lee Poy.

Photo by Andrew Boyle
Amale Andraos

When: January 24
Where: Houston, TX; Rice University, MD Anderson Hall, Farish Gallery

One standout of our 2023 offices issue was a vibrant bank tower project in Lima by WORKac. Along with being the firm’s cofounder, Amale Andraos is also a professor and dean emeritus at Columbia’s School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation and the author of The Arab City: Architecture and Representation, a book about contemporary architecture’s role in the Middle East. We expect this talk to blend discussion of past WORKAC projects with broader commentary about architecture’s capacity to address social concerns.

Germane Barnes: “I Heard You Were Looking For Me”

When: February 1
Where: Toronto, ON; John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design

Germane Barnes — one of the global design talents profiled in our recent Nov/Dec issue feature on “Spatial Reimaginings” — takes the stage to discuss how the built environment influences community agency.

Photo by Gravity Road
“In Conversation: Attua Aparicio”

When: February 7
Where: London, England; The Design Museum

Design Museum Chief Curator Johanna Agerman Ross takes the stage to interview this year’s Ralph Saltzman prize winner: Attua Aparicio. The Spanish designer is best known for her ceramic work, which includes everything from decorative plates to clay bookcases. Coinciding with the opening of an exhibition of her work, this discussion will cover Aparicio’s journey in the creative industry — from her early days with Silo Studio to her unique “digit texture” approach to creating clay forms with scalloped edges.

Tura Cousins Wilson portrait
Photos by Nathan Cyprys
Shane Laptiste portrait
SOCA — “Visibility & Community: Observations on Overlooked Communities and Narratives in Architecture”

When: February 7
Where: Ottawa, ON; The Ottawa Art Gallery

Fresh from the cover of our Nov/Dec 2023 issue, Shane Laptiste and Tura Cousins Wilson of Toronto’s Studio of Contemporary Architecture (SOCA) continue the Ariele School of Architecture and Urbanism’s spring lecture series with a talk focused on architecture’s role supporting overlooked communities.

Photo by James Brittain
Johanna Hurme (5468796 Architecture) — Somerville Visiting Lecture

When: February 14
Where: Calgary, AB; University of Calgary School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, CBDLab

Johanna Hurme (of Winnipeg’s 5468796 Architecture) flies west to share insights into her firm’s social projects and private residences. Consider it the perfect Valentine’s Day counter-programming — or perhaps even a great date night activity.

Maggie Tsang

When: March 4
Where: New Orleans, LA; Tulane School of Architecture

Maggie Tsang, the managing principal of landscape architecture and urban design studio Dept., will discuss how her work addresses the concept of “tending” (which she defines as caring for or looking after something or someone). Subsequent lectures set to take place at Tulane this spring will be delivered by architect and computational textile expert Felecia Davis and Columbia GSAPP Urban Planning program director Welping Wu.

11 Can’t-Miss Lectures Getting 2024 Off to a Great Start

Rounding up everyone who is going to get the industry talking over the next couple months.

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