Vancouver's Architectural debates are rubbish.
We've all been there: a panel of similar designers with similar views taking it in turns to talk at length about their similar work - too polite, too deferential, too dull. At best they are lukewarm love-ins, critically impotent, elitist and stuffy. Turncoats is a shot in the arm. Framed by theatrically provocative opening gambits, a series of debates will rugby tackle fundamental issues facing contemporary practice with a playful and combative format designed to foment open and critical discussion, turning conventional consensus on its head.

Paper Architecture

Friday 17 March, 2017

Architectural education has given into theoretical speculation, social activism and a tsunami of new technologies producing nothing more than hollow concepts, naive ideals and flashy renderings. Where is the eye for detail, materiality and technical skills? Do students a favor and teach them to do more than dream.

The Panel

  • Erick Villagomez is the Editor-in-chief at Spacing Vancouver and founding principal of Metis Design|Build. He is also an educator, independent researcher and designer with academic and professional interests in the human settlements at all scales.

  • Shelley Long is a landscape designer at HAPA Collaborative and adjunct professor at UBC’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.

  • Alexander Mercer has a diverse background in philosophy, history and the humanities, and is currently pursuing a degree in Environmental Design at UBC.

  • Roy Cloutier is a researcher, educator, and recent graduate of the M.Arch program at UBC and is currently working atPatkau Architects.

  • 6pm
  • Friday 17 March, 2017
  • $10
  • 303 East 8th Avenue
  • Vancouver, BC V5T 1S2

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Design the Wall

Thursday 26 January, 2017

Say what you will about a Trump presidency, it will be good for business. When the leader of the free world is a real estate developer, architects will still just be service providers, and that’s okay. Architects shouldn't be political. Some of history’s most celebrated buildings were built under regimes with stomach churning track records. Getting upset about policy is a distraction from doing great work. Spare us your hysteria! Buildings outlast politicians.

The Panel

  • AnnaLisa Meyboom is an Associate Professor at the School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture at UBC and Director of the Transportation Infrastructure and Public Space Lab at UBC, and owner of the design practice, InfrastructureStudio. Her research areas include the integration of engineering and architecture at all scales, emphasizing the ability to integrate the highly technical, the beautiful and the environmental simultaneously and seamlessly into built form.

  • Jennifer Cutbill is a project Architect at Local Practice Architecture. Her background is in fine arts, systems ecology, and sustainability policy; and her work focuses on regenerative design and strategic agency. She is also a Regional Director of the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada, and acting Chair of its national Environmental Committee; co-Founder and Director of Vancouver Design Week; and a retired competitive Thai boxer.

  • Alicia Breck is an adjunct professor at the School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture at UBC and a project manager at Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency. Her work and research addresses the social and political impact of architecture and urbanism in 21st century city building.

  • May So is an Associate at Henriquez Partners Architects whose work is driven by social justice. She has contributed design and project leadership to the Woodward’s Redevelopment and is currently working on Mirvish Village an affordable rental housing project in Toronto. May is a contirbutor to the books “Towards an Ethical Architecture” and “Body Heat: The Story of the Woodward’s Redevelopment.”

  • 5pm
  • Thursday 26 January, 2017
  • $10
  • Inform Interiors
  • 50 Water St
  • Vancouver, BC V6B 1A4 CA

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We Got This

Thursday 17 November, 2016

The technocrats have triumphed! More than ever, cities are shaped by an expanding army of specialists who, confounded by an onslaught of economic, demographic and environmental pressures, robotically approach city making with a kit of technical solutions. When was the last time you were inspired to linger in one of these formulaic places? What happened to the vision? It’s time to put the responsibility for city making back in the hands of the original generalists: the architects!

The Panel

  • Leslie Van Duzer is a Professor of Architecture at UBC, and has taught in over a dozen schools of architecture across the US, Europe and Japan. She is the former Director of School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA) and a founder of the Urbanarium.

  • Bruce Carscadden is a Senior Partner at Carscadden Stokes McDonald Architects, and founded the predecessor firm of Bruce Carscadden Architect in 2001. He has over 30 years of post-graduate experience in architecture, and is a leading specialist in Western Canada of aquatic, recreation and public architecture.

  • Neal Lamontagne is a former senior planner with the cities of Vancouver and North Vancouver and is the co-chair of the Vancouver City Planning Commission and vice-chair of the Vancouver Urban Design Panel. He is an adjunct professor with the UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning and the Langara Applied Planning program. He is currently working on a PhD in urban planning at UCLA.

  • Mitchell Reardon is an urbanist at Metropolitan Collective, and also collaborates with Happy City, IBI Group and Nordregio. His interdisciplinary work centres on people and how they live, work and move through the city. Mitchell is enjoying life in Vancouver, after spending 6 years living and working in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • 6pm
  • Thursday 17 November, 2016
  • $10
  • DUDOC Dutch Urban Design Centre
  • 1445 West Georgia Street
  • Vancouver, BC V6G 2T3 CA

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Green Wash

Thursday 1 September, 2016

Sustainability rhetoric is unsustainable. From expensive curtain-wall glass assemblies to checklist driven design solutions, green building is not only unaffordable; the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts. Let’s shred our green shroud and design first and foremost for people, not planet.

The Panel

  • Joe Dahmen is founder of AFJD and assistant professor of design and sustainability integration at the UBC’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, where he teaches design studios and building technology courses.

  • Kaitlyn Gillis is project manager at Light House Sustainable Building Centre. Her most recent research looked at the restorative potential of biophilic design in work and living spaces.

  • Nicholas Waissbluth is an artist, architectural designer and cofounder of uAbureau, an international collective based in Spain, Canada and Colombia. His work seeks to promote and showcase social + participatory design build projects.

  • Caitlin Jones is the Executive Director of the Western Front Society in Vancouver. Last year, she curated Urgent Imagination, a two-part project that proposed creative alternatives to Vancouver’s current mode of developer-driven architecture and urban planning.
  • 6pm
  • Thursday 1 September, 2016
  • $10
  • DUDOC Dutch Urban Design Centre
  • 1445 West Georgia Street
  • Vancouver, BC V6G 2T3 CA

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Original Sin

Friday 1 April

We deride the derivative, we mock mimics, we fear facsimiles. Why? Hollywood reboots movies, theatre directors restage plays, musicians make covers. The best cultural production comes from the clear consensus that iterating is inventive yet in architecture we despise copying above all things. Our elitist and egotistical obsession with cosmetic novelty necessitates the endless, pointless, reinvention of form, reducing architecture to a spectacle of super-size billboard branding. Is bad originality preferable to a brilliant copy? Bullshit!

The Panel

  • Clinton Cuddington is an architect and the founding principal of Measured Architecture Inc., an award-winning full-service architectural firm specializing in high quality, high performance modern buildings.

  • Fernanda Hannah teaches design and is the co-owner of Monzu and Hannah Design, a local firm focusing on residential and reclaimed wood designs. She has lived and worked in Barcelona, New York and Mexico City.

  • Javier Campos is a designer and founder of Campos Studio. His work includes several highly-awarded buildings, public art pieces, and competition entries.

  • Alicia Medina is a cofounder and director at the Laboratory for Housing Alternatives (LOHA), as well as an intern architect at Marianne Amodio Architecture Studio. Her work has crossed boundaries between architecture, interior design, graphic design, public space installation and craft brewing.
  • TBA
  • 6pm
  • Friday 1 April
  • $10
  • DUDOC Dutch Urban Design Centre
  • 1445 West Georgia Street
  • Vancouver, BC V6G 2T3 CA

Get a ticket


Turncoats Vancouver is a project by Tony Osborn and Kees Lokman. For all enquiries write to tony@toad.design

Supported by

Courtroom artists

Julia Casol
Nicole Sylvia
Mac Page
Alexander Ring

Special thanks

Matthew Harty
Ryan Brown
Amber Williams
Nicholas Evans
Sean Casey
Jani Mitanovski

Any group of people with a thirst for intellectual mischief can join the Society of Turncoats and form a chapter in their city. Membership is of the society is free. Once a member your chapter can use and improve the format to host official Turncoats events. It began with Architecture, but can be transposed to other disciplines in need of an alternative format to niggle into the depths of difficult issues.

Email hello@turncoats.world about setting up a chapter.

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