Ian Chodikoff, architect, urban designer, and editor of Canadian Architect magazine, presents his research on the contemporary suburb and how the influences of ethnic diversity and multiculturalism affect architecture and urban design within the suburban landscape across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
Today’s suburbs are more ethnically diverse, globally connected and culturally aware than at any other time in history. The influences of these factors on the built environment are unprecedented in the evolution of the North American city.
Most immigrants arriving in the GTA settle directly in the suburbs, bypassing the more expensive downtown neighbourhoods of Toronto. Immigrants who bring new skills, innovation, and creativity with them are building public markets, specialized housing developments, and unconventional retail complexes that are redefining cities. They are also influencing the development of new schools, religious buildings, community centres and sports facilities being designed to adapt to the needs of their diverse communities while remaining inclusive to all Canadians.
The lecture discusses celebrated design by some of Toronto’s leading architects as well as a variety of vernacular buildings, whether they be adaptively reused or newly constructed, culturally specific forms. Together, these examples demonstrate how diverse multiculturalism is challenging perceptions of how a cosmopolitan city can function in a globally connected world.
The Learning from… Series takes its title from Learning from Las Vegas (1972), Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour’s vastly influential publication, which analysed the commercial strips and architectural symbolism of Las Vegas in order to understand urban sprawl. In this spirit, the series brings together experts to explore specific urban conditions and their relevance to the future development of cities.