Future Architecture Toronto

Take a peek at the future of architecture at Nuit Blanche

Even if Nuit Blanche 2012 has an obvious pre-occupation with the end of things, there's at least one exhibition that's got its proverbial eyes fixed on the future. And if you're into Toronto architecture, it'll probably be one that you want to check out. Hosted by the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) at the Design Exchange, the overnight exhibition stretches the imagination in conceiving of architectural forms that are profoundly more social and interactive than the structures we are accustomed to today.

An excerpt from the press release to demonstrate how whimsical the whole thing sounds: "In the future we will crave opportunities to increase social connection. Libraries will disperse into cloud service outposts, becoming a local repository of information. Users will be able to both download and upload material in an open shelf program. Office towers will effectively act as an urban lung and provide a new relationship between built form and the atmosphere. Education environments will shift their emphasis from learning knowledge to creating knowledge and become spaces focused on collaboration."

Maybe this is true. Or perhaps the increase in global temperature over the next decade or so will exceed 2 degrees Celsius, and it'll be too late to save the planet with eco-friendly architecture. Our primary concern will instead be to make sure our buildings are outfitted to handle the environmental calamities that have descended upon us.

To lose the Debbie Downer routine, the ideas do seem exciting, and the rendering of the financial district as a vertical city definitely has the cool factor covered — even if there's an undeniable Jetsons-like quality to it all (like what are those, air-roads?). But, you know what? — utopic thinking can be fun to indulge in once in a while, and I would bet that the discussion that accompanies the exhibit will be anything but naive.

Other projects that get the 2001 treatment are the public library, Eglinton (West) subway station, transportation networks, and Ontario Place.

And don't forget the whole warmth factor. Spending four or five hours wandering the streets looking at art can get cold on an autumn night. There are worse ways to warm up than by thinking about the future.

Runs Saturday, September 29 — 7pm - 7am at the Design Exchange

Photo by Onsepace Unlimited Inc.

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