Thank you to all the attendees, speakers, session chairs, and volunteers who made SSAC 2023 such a success. The SSAC would like to especially thank the members of the conference committee – Dorothy Field, David Monteyne, Jeanette Burman, Cynthia Klaassen, Judy Larmour, and Fraser Shaw – for all their hard work organizing the SSAC’s first hybrid conference and the in-person conference in Calgary with a variety of walking tours, day trips, social events and post-conference activities.
|Attendees (in-person): 66|
Attendees (remote): 7
Session Chairs: 13
Papers Presented: 39
Tours and events: 8
Provinces/Territories Represented: 6
Conference mentorships: 12
Header image: Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site in Treaty 7 Territory, Southern Alberta. Photo by Miranda Virginillo.
This was the SSAC’s first hybrid conference, with paper sessions and other events being livestreamed from Calgary for viewing by remote conference attendees. Recordings will also soon be available for all participants, both remote and in-person. Thank you to Jeanette Burman and our current intern, Jovin Nolan, for all their work on the hybrid aspects of the conference.
This year, the SSAC inaugurated a mentorship program to welcome first-time attendees and answer any questions ahead of the conference, as well as to ensure they saw a friendly face in Calgary. Through this program, we connected 12 new members with mentors. Thank you to our volunteers, Candace Iron, Michael Windover, and Steven Mannell, and to Steven Mannell for suggesting this initiative. We hope to continue this program as a regular part of future conferences.
Canadian Architectural Archives Exhibition
Robb Gilbert, archivist for the Canadian Architectural Archives and newly elected SSAC Representative for Alberta, prepared a temporary exhibition at the main conference venue, the City Building Design Lab of the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape at the University of Calgary.
The conference opened with a reception and keynote lecture by David A. Down, Chief Urban Designer for the City of Calgary, at Contemporary Calgary, a new gallery housed in the former Centennial Planetarium. This year, the SSAC offered free public tickets for the opening event, which were quickly snapped up by local architecture enthusiasts.
Speakers presented 39 papers over the 14 Sessions related to the theme of this year’s conference, Cast in Place.
Phyllis Lambert and Martin Eli Weil Prizes
The SSAC was pleased to announce the winners of our two student prizes at a lunchtime event. Desirée Valadares, now Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia, won the Phyllis Lambert Prize for best dissertation, and Katie Filek, PhD student at the University of Toronto, won the Martin Eli Weil Prize for best student paper. Conference attendees listened to a presentation by Katie Filek on the topic of her winning essay.
Tour of Studio Bell and Social at the King Edward Hotel
Registrants received an insider architectural tour of Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre, designed by Allied Works Architecture and completed in 2016. The tour was followed by an evening social event with live music hosted at the revitalized King Edward Hotel, one of the oldest buildings in Calgary and a well-known blues club that has been incorporated into the NMC’s new building.
Three walking tours were offered at this year’s conference: Sandstone Calgary, Brutalist Calgary, and Mid-Century Modern in Downtown West. Thank you to our tour guides, Stefan Cieslik, Cynthia Klaassen, and Josh Traptow.
Day Trip to Fort Macleod, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, and Calgary Tower
Conference attendees took part in a bus tour along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains to the Fort Macleod Provincial Historic Area and the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Museum and World Heritage Site in Treaty 7 Territory. SSAC 2023 closed with an unforgettable meal overlooking the city at the Calgary Tower.
Informal Post-Conference Activities
After the conference officially wrapped up, attendees had two more opportunities to explore Alberta’s architectural resources at the Canadian Architectural Archives at the University of Calgary and with an expedition to Banff.