Space + Place

Space + Place
Hosted by amery Calvelli
New episode every

Space + Place is a conversation about architecture, the city, and the visual culture around us. Hosted by amery Calvelli and produced for CJSW 90.9fm, it airs on the first Tuesday of each month at 11am. Each show considers how we define the space we inhabit. Be part of the conversation in shaping place. Make room for the possibility of tomorrow, today. Space + Place airs on the first Tuesday of every month at 8pm during the “CJSW Presents…’ hour, only on CJSW 90.9 FM.


Most Recent Episode:
space + place #44 – more than buildings (April 10, 2015)
Pedro Gadanho on Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities, and Lucia Babina and Miguel Robles-Duran on affordable housing.


#44 more than buildings

April 10th, 2015

space + place #44 – more than buildingsWe explore the role of architecture as a response to the social and cultural fibre of a city. From the Museum of Modern Art in New York, we hear from the Curator of Contemporary Architecture, Pedro Gadanho, as he describes the current exhibition:  Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities. 

The show features design solutions that resulted from collaborative research and architectural practices seeking insight into the urban concerns of exploding population and inequality in cities. How might architecture respond to the physical and social injustice in a city? Some ideas are forward-thinking decades into the future with alternatives to energy, power, and water. There are islands of surplus junk, land trusts, and a local development bank. The exhibition is not short on alternatives. The result is a fresh look at design’s role in contributing to a pre-figured future for Hong Kong, Istanbul, Lagos, Mumbai, New York City, and Rio de Janeiro.

Lagos Tomorrow. 2014. Water. Courtesy NLÉ and Zoohaus/Inteligencias Colectivas


Hong Kong Is Land. 2014. The Island of Surplus. Courtesy MAP Office


We also hear from the non-profit CoHabitation Strategies, a Rotterdam and New York based practice that is focused on the social relationships that influence the environments we inhabit. Researching the challenges to affordable housing, Miguel Robles-Duran and colleague Lucia Babina lay out the systemic complexities of the present day urban affordability.  Taking an approach they refer to as “socio-spatial”, their solutions reveal alternatives like Cooperative Housing Trusts or a review of the perceived value of land ownership.

The Other New York. 2014. Cooperative Housing Trusts. Collage on Masonite, 12 × 16 × 7/8″ (30.5 × 40.6 × 2.2 cm). Courtesy Cohabitation Strategies (CohStra)


The Other New York. 2014. Cooperative Housing Trusts. Collage on Masonite, 2 panels, each 24 × 18 × 7/8″ (61 × 45.7 × 2.2 cm). Courtesy Cohabitation Strategies (CohStra)


Lucia Babina also describes an earlier project she was part of, called The Cook, the Farmer, His Wife and Their Neighbour. It was a community garden and kitchen in Amsterdam that both filled a void in the built environment and served as example of informal movements in cities. Babina was part of the Wilde Westen group at the time, and the collaboration with artist/architect Marjetica potrc seeded the project that would serve meals and grow food in a community facing development transition.

#43 between the lines

March 3rd, 2015

Today’s show explores interpretation. How do we observe our built environment? What do we miss? Why do we build? Sometimes, its the small things that make a difference in our environment. They’re right there, we just need to look. Creating “place” requires more than putting a building on the grid and seeing what’s left. Martin Arfalk describes what the Swedish landscape architecture and urban design firm, Mandaworks, takes seriously: the interpretation of space and the activities that can be instigated. Manda, in a meta sort of way, is a design language, but it’s also a lens to look more critically at a call for design, allowing different disciplines of design to more fluidly approach a problem. How people interact is part of the interpretation of space.

Inside_Outside Vaasa, image courtesy of Mandaworks

Osterport Orebro, image courtesy of Mandaworks

Iker Gil, Editor of the critical design journal MAS Context, explains an issue dedicated to the ordinary in design. An architect and also the director of MAS Studio in Chicago, his practice is on the lookout for what design might offer that’s not exactly in stated in the design brief. He sites Rojkind Arquitectos’ propensity for designing spaces for other things to happen. He’s interested in an architecture that traverses a glass ceiling of “service”, and seeks work that extends the brief. Appreciating what’s in plain sight but potentially overlooked is the approach. Iker Gil’s recent exhibition, Inside Marina City,expressed the experience of Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina City towers from the perspective of the inhabitants.

MAS Context Ordinary split run cover. Lettering by Nick Adams, Chicago, 2014 © MAS Context

MAS Context Ordinary spread. Text and photographs by Michal Ojrzanowski, Chicago, 2014 © MAS Context

MAS Context Ordinary spread. Domestic Hats installation by Jennifer Bonner at The Goat Farm Arts Center, Atlanta © Patrick Heagney

Jimenez Lai  describes his recent work, an exhibition and series of individual pamphlets by 14 emerging architects. Called Treatise, Why Write Alone? this exploration into conceptual, discursive practice features architects engaged in the pursuit of understanding motivations that underlie a reason to build something. Jimenez Lai is the leader of Bureau Spectacular and is also the author of the respected architectural graphic novel, Citizens of No Place.

Andrew Kovacs, "Guggenheim Helsinki Model," 2014. Found objects. 48 x 96 x 12 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

SPEEDISM (Pieterjan Ginckels), Film still from "TWO-FACED MF EASY RIDE," 2015. Dual-channel video installation, sound, fog. 6 mins 8 secs. Courtesy of the artists.


Bittertang (Michael Loverich & Antonio Torres), "Romulus & Remus: Succulent Piñata (detail)," 2010. Mixed media. 35 x 35 x 16 inches. Courtesy of the artists.

See Martin Arfalk – March 11th  – U of C downtown – 6pm (Design Matters)

#42 intelligence

February 4th, 2015

Installation view of "Beautiful Users." Photo: Matt Flynn 2014, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

The late industrial designer Bill Moggridge remarked that “It doesn’t occur to most  people that everything is designed.” Bill’s GRiD Compass Computer, considered the world’s first laptop, is included in a show called Beautiful Users.

GRiD Compass Laptop Computer Prototype, 1981. Image: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

The exhibition, at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and curated by Ellen Lupton, identifies the lineage of user-friendly design. What started with military engineer research, industrial designers Henry Dreyfuss, Niels Different, and Alvin R. Tilley brought the computation of the human body to product design after World War II. The exhibition reveals process, influences, and even a move to incorporate the direct participation of users into the design. Beautiful Users catalogue can be found here.

The Measure of Man, image courtesy of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

APOC park interior. Photo: Boris Castellanos for IK Studio

Architects Simon Kim and Mariana Ibañez of IK Studio take another approach to intelligence, exploring the embodied intelligence in surface and form to realize an augmented architecture. Stable geometries might instead adapt to need, to a site, and to the environment.

Modular Architecture, the POLYhouse. image: IK Studio

The POLYhouse is designed as a series of modular chains that can be linked together to create a courtyard or even a tower. In the process, buildings that move on demand might be possible. An early collaboration with Carbon Dance explores cybernetics and movement in the creation of a responsive environment. In the book, Paradigms in Computing, Ibañez explores architecture through the lens of computing, wondering how architecture might reach beyond the boundaries of buildings and cities.

4-2-1 House by IK Studio


events of note:

Design Matters – Sujit Nair – February 4th  – U of C downtown – 6pm

BaconFest – My Brooklyn – February 11th – Calgary Central Library – 6pm

Design Matters – IK Studio – February 18th – U of C downtown – 6pm


#41 art in place

January 7th, 2015


Future Station, image: Kristy Trinier

Kristy Trinier, a curator at the Art Gallery of Alberta, identifies threads of locality in the upcoming 2015 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art. Finding an unfinished underground downtown transit station in Edmonton as metaphor for contemporary artistic practice in the province, our discussion moves between representation and the adaptation of practice to place. Future Station was intended as a stop on the light rail transit line. Instead, it’s a platform encased within a concrete barrier. Daily commuters pass through without the awareness of the station’s existence. Similarly, the Biennial draws attention to artistic practice that is veiled in the overlooked gaze. While at the AGA, don’t miss the photography exhibition, Suburbua: A Model Life.

Oh, Canada, artist: Kelly Mark


Oh, Canada, artist: May Evans


The seed for the exhibition Oh, Canada was sewn, curiously, in Massachusetts. What art was the nation with the world’s second largest landmass producing? Denise Markonish, a curator at MASS MoCA, was convinced that there was more to the Canadian contemporary art scene and headed north, visiting 400 artist studios. The exhibition, featuring 60 Canadian artists under a nine square-metre roof, was an early unravelling of preconception that artmaking is bound to established centres.  Oh, Canada was recognized for it’s exploration into cultural identity and sense of place. Opening in Calgary on January 31st, the exhibition will be shared among four institutions: The Esker Foundation, the Illingsworth Kerr Gallery, the Glenbow Museum, and the Nickle Galleries.


Calgary Biennial, anonymous, Things are going to get worse before they get even worse


Calgary Biennial, artist: Steven Beckley

And finally, we narrow the gaze to the city of Calgary, where a guerrilla biennial under the moniker The Calgary Biennial takes place.Titled Atlas Sighed and curated by artist Steven Cottingham, the exhibition features a dozen works venturing into the pubic realm. Brittany Bear Hat uses the medium of the billboard to unveil place as it relates to identity. Yvonne Mullock and Mia Rushton’s medium is a classified ad, and Steven Beckley’s images will occupy a bus shelter. Regardless of medium, the works provoke pointedly at the social implications of success. Works question not only our relationship with capital and with public space, but also how place is implicated in a search for an embrace of the alternative.

Of interest:

Design Matters – Rick Joy - Jan 7th

#40 main and lane

December 3rd, 2014


100 Years of Growth, courtesy of Studio North

We look at main streets and laneways, exploring how vital they are to the urban fabric.

We hear from the architectural design+build practice Studio North, who has researched laneway housing extensively and in the process of building their own laneway. This aligns with the city’s main streets initiative and an investigation into laneway housing in the Hillhurst-Sunnyside neighbourhood.

Calgary City Council  will be voting on a proposal to improve city process for secondary suites on December 15th. Have your say, take action at: suiteyyc.ca and learn more here.

Laneway block, courtesy of Studio North

Laneway section, courtesy of Studio North

Laneway housing cracks open opportunity for a diversity of housing options. Think affordability, but also, it’s about offering multiple lifestyle choices. Brandon Donnelly speaks about The Laneway Project, and their in-between spaces summit held last week in Toronto calling attention to the laneway house. His perspective, as someone working in the real estate development industry, reveals why the laneway is one of the last opportunities for an urban fabric middle ground…one where mid-rise housing options are still possible.


Laneway plan courtesy of Brandon Donnelly

We start the show with a look at two main streets where architectural moves have struck ground in an effort to foster neighbourhood vitality. Developer Randy Rapaport describes the challenges faced in planting multi-family buildings on main streets, this time on Clinton Street and on Belmont Street in Portland.


Belmont Street Lofts image courtesy of Randy Rappaport

On 9th Ave SE in Inglewood, architectural firm MoDA clad an everyday 2-story commercial building with a parametric screen that serves as both a beacon on the streetfront, but also articulates interior views. The individually-scored wooden slats, placed horizontally across the building face, reveals a subtle patterning leading to the building entrance.

Articulated Entrance on 9th Ave SE, courtesy of MoDA Architecture


Other dates of note:

Dec 3 – d.talks Let’s talk about…the remix

Dec 11 – Design Matters Bruce Kuwabara

Dec 15 – Suites YYC

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Disclaimer: Welcome to one of many CJSW blogs. Please remember that even though CJSW broadcasts amazing quality 24/7, we are still a volunteer-based station. Not all programmers will be as active on their blog as others. If you have any specific questions on the show, feel free to contact them via their posted email address or call (403) 220-3991 during their show.