The importance of travel to architectural research and practice was challenged this past year as a global pandemic shut down borders and grounded airplanes indiscriminately. We have learned that virtual tools and insular thinking cannot completely replace the deeply embedding, empathy-building experiences that travel can offer – whether in the context of site visits, field work, or international exhibitions and conferences. This event brings together architects and designers to discuss what we can do to better prepare for and maximize the positive impact of our international experiences, being mindful that every trip abroad disrupts both the environment and our host cultures. What is the future of travel in architecture, and how must we adapt our means of knowledge-creation and sharing? What can we do to make our future travel more intentional and considered, so that our trips are not neocolonial itineraries that simply reproduce Western knowledge? The three speakers will discuss new ways of reaching our global goals such as through remote research and more selective, educated travel.
Justin Kitsing Lai is an architectural designer at Robert A.M. Stern Architects and a graduate of Waterloo Architecture and the Yale School of Architecture. He is the winner of the 2019 RAMSA Prize, a grant awarded to applicants from the firm's design staff for the purpose of travel and research.
Asia Clarke is a designer, foresight strategist, and international development consultant with a Master of Design from OCADU. She has been a leader in economic empowerment international development projects professionally in Canada, Dominica, Trinidad, eSwatini and Ghana.
Lola Sheppard is a Professor, Registered Architect and founding Partner at Lateral Office. She is a graduate of McGill University and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Lola's recent work and teaching has focused on the role of architecture, infrastructure and the public realm in the context of Arctic Canada.
The M.Arch Student-led Symposia series is sponsored by the Ontario Association of Architects.