Where to catch riveting lectures by Zaha Hadid, Ma Yansong, Tom Dixon and other globe-trotting architects and designers in the new year and beyond.
1 Wolf Prix, at Yale, New Haven, CT, January 14
At the Yale School of Architecture, where he is the Lord Norman Foster Visiting Professior, Prix will discuss “The Himmelb(l)au Project.” His Vienna-based firm Coop Himmelb(l)au has recently completed such projects as the House of Music in Aalborg, Denmark, the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, and the Musée des Confluences in Lyon (shown).
2 Nathalie de Vries, at Ryerson University, Toronto, January 21
A founding partner of MVRDV, with Winy Maas and Jacob van Rijs, de Vries will discuss the innovative Dutch firm’s projects, which include the Markthal in Rotterdam – an arch-shaped building with a food market at its centre – and the carbon-cutting urban design of the Opera-Quarter in Oslo. The studio recently won the commission for a waterfront redevelopment project in Tainan, Taiwan, where they’ll tear down a 1980s shopping centre to make way for an artificial beach and pedestrian-friendly public spaces.
3 – 6 Azure Trade Talks, at the Interior Design Show, Toronto, January 22
IDS rolls out yet another all-star line-up of keynote speakers this year. Topping the bill on Trade Day is British designer Tom Dixon, known for his elegant products and high-profile interiors, such as Shoreditch House and the Mondrian London, at Sea Containers House. Dixon’s products will also be the focus of Klaus by Nienkämper’s pop-up shop at the show and he’ll present the Toronto Ice Kitchen, inspired by Canada’s frozen lakes, in collaboration with Caesarstone. Also taking the stage are Snøhetta co-founder Craig Dykers and designers Ora Ito and Lee Broom.
7 Zaha Hadid at RIBA, London, February 2
Next month Hadid will become the first woman to receive the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects and as part of the honour she’ll deliver a lecture at the institution’s headquarters. The trailblazing architect was also the first female recipient of the Pritzker Prize, which she won in 2004, and is known around the world for her curvaceous buildings, such as the Messner Mountain Museum Corones (shown), which opened last summer and is inserted into an Alpine peak.
8 Ellie Abrons and Adam Fure, at the University of Calgary, February 17
These two young architects work separately at their respective design practices, EADO and Sift Studio, as well as together. Not only are they both assistant professors at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, but they’re currently collaborating as members of T+E+A+M, one of 12 practices selected to exhibit in the US Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale. This architecture lecture at the University of Calgary will provide some insight into the Architectural Imagination, an exhibition of design proposals that reimagine a site in Detroit.
9 Janna Levitt, at the University of Toronto, February 25
The co-founder of Toronto firm LGA Architectural Partners is known for work that is rooted in the art and craft of architecture, whether the building be a single-family residence, an art gallery or an educational institution. Her work also embraces sustainability, as shown in her research of bio-diverse landscapes to support pollinators and urban agriculture. She’ll deliver a talk, entitled Relational Aesthetics, which delves into the ways that client, site, community and environment combine to drive rich and outstanding architecture.
10 Ma Yansong, at SCI-Arc, Los Angeles, March 23
The mastermind behind Beijing’s MAD Architects who made a name for himself and his firm with the voluptuous Absolute Towers in Mississauga, Ontario, will speak at SCI-Arc this spring. He has been in the news most recently for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts, recently approved by Chicago City Council; and the just-completed Harbin Opera House in north-east China. He’ll talk about the “Shanshui City” concept that forms the basis of much of his work and calls for a balance among society, the city and the environment through new architectural forms. (Look for our story on Ma Yansong in the March/April 2016 issue of Azure, slated to hit newsstands on February 15 and 22, in Canada and the U.S.).
11 Jeanne Gang, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, March 7
The founder and principal of Studio Gang Architects, the Chicago and New York-based architecture and urban design practice, will present a talk as part of Carleton University’s Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism Forum Lecture Series. She will discuss her firm’s projects, including just-revealed plans for an addition to the Natural History Museum in New York City, and highlight how she considers her practice a project in itself – a tool that can help to break new ground for others in the field.
12 Shohei Shigematsu, at McGill University, Montreal, March 21
The director of OMA‘s New York office is also the partner-in-charge for the firm’s first Canadian project, situated in Quebec. No doubt his talk will focus largely on his work on the expanded Quebec National Beaux Arts Museum, set to open this year. With a career that has involved collaborations with artists including Cai Guo Qiang, Marina Abramovic and Kanye West, Shigematsu might include some interesting art-world anecdotes as well.