WHAT: POP / CAN / CRIT 2017: Marketing and Promotion of Architecture in Canada
WHERE: Design Exchange, Toronto
WHEN: Friday, October 27, 2017
COST: $45 general admission / $35 student admission
TICKETS: Purchase on Eventbrite
SHARE: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram — use the hashtag #PopCanCrit

Marketing and Promotion of Architecture in Canada

In what ways do we market architecture? How can we best advocate for the profession? And what impact does a photograph have on our understanding of the built environment? These are but a few of the questions that will be explored at the upcoming POP // CAN // CRIT 2017 symposium. This day-long series of panels and discussions will take place on October 27, 2017 at the Design Exchange in Toronto. It is the second in a progression of symposiums that are meant to look critically at contemporary topics related to the intersections between the public understanding and profession of architecture, specifically within our Canadian context.

This year’s event will bring together the country’s top architects, marketing professionals, photographers, advocacy groups, and media to discuss and debate the vital roles the architect, media, marketing personnel and public play in shaping the general discourse surrounding architecture. It will also feature various panels exploring topics including: Architecture as Icon/ Toronto Condo Revolution, Advocacy and Activism in Architecture, the Image of Architecture, and Marketing as a tool for Architecture.

POP CAN CRIT is funded in-part by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).



Check out the photos of POP / CAN / CRIT to see who attended.

Images provided by KTCHN Photography.


  • Alex Bozikovic: Globe and Mail, architecture critic
  • Younes Bounhar: doublespace photography, architectural photographer
  • Amanda Large: doublespace photography, architectural photographer
  • Naomi Kriss: Kriss Communications, principal + founder
  • Johanna Hurme: 5468796 Architecture, architect + co-founder
  • Susan Algie: Director of Winnipeg Architecture Foundation
  • Ben Rahn: A-Frame Studio, architectural photographer
  • Alex Josephson: PARTISANS, co-founder
  • Shelley True: President of True Dot Design, strategic marketing, branding + design
  • Norm Li: Norm Li, architectural graphic specialist
  • Veronica Gillies: Henriquez Partners Architects, architect + director of innovation
  • Mark Busse: HCMA Architecture + Design, director of creativity + engagement
  • Monica Adair: Acre Architects, architect + co-founder
  • Toon Dreessen: Dreessen Cardinal Architects, architect + president
  • Vincent Hui: Ryerson University, associate chair, department of architectural science
  • Adrian Phiffer: University of Toronto – John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, Lecturer, and Office of Adrian Phiffer
  • Nicola Spunt: PARTISANS, director of content and culture


Please note that you can find a description of panel topics below the schedule

• 8:00 – 8:30 registration open

• 8:30 opening remarks

• 9:00 – 10:15
Panel 1: Marketing as a tool for architecture

Moderator: Michel Rod (Sprott School of Business, Carleton University)
Speakers: Veronica Gillies, Mark Busse, Shelley True, Vincent Hui

• 10:15 break

• 10:30 – 11:45
Panel 2: advocacy + activism
Moderator: Matt Blackett (Spacing)
Speakers: Toon Dreessen, Susan Algie, Monica Adair, Johanna Hurme

• 11:45 – 1:00 lunch + networking

• 1:00 – 2:15
Panel 3: image + architecture
Moderator: Adrian Phiffer (University of Toronto – John H. Daniels faculty of architecture, landscape, and design, and Office of Adrian Phiffer)
Speakers: Ben Rahn, Younes Bounhar, Amanda Large, Norm Li, Naomi Kriss

• 2:15 – 3:30
Panel 4: architecture as icon/ branding + Toronto condo revolution

Moderator: Nicola Spunt (PARTISANS)
Speakers: Alex Josephson, Alex Bozikovic, Adrian phiffer

• 3:30 break

• 3:45 – 5:00
Roundtable Discussion
Moderator: Matthew Blackett (Spacing)
Speakers: Toon Dreessen, Johanna Hurme, Alex Bozikovic, Susan Algie, Shelley True

• 5:00
Closing Remarks

For the full program and list of panels, please download our event schedule [PDF].


Panel 1: Marketing as a Tool for Architecture
This panel, focused on the role of marketing within the architecture profession, seeks to debate the relevancy of marketing to architecture. How has marketing and/or promotion benefited the profession or the publics’ opinion of architecture? How has it harmed? What does marketing mean to the architect/ professional/ public, and how will it be used in the future? As we are living in an increasingly globalized society, this panel will examine Canada’s role in the global architectural marketplace.

Panel 2: Advocacy and Activism in Architecture
Panel 3 will discuss the perceived lack of public understanding regarding the role of the architect and architecture to society, identified by academics and architects in Money: Perspecta 47. Here, panelists will be asked to describe examples of best- practice projects that have successfully engaged the public and promoted Canadian architecture and architects. Panelist can describe personal projects and organizations and how they advocate for the profession and architecture. The purpose of this panel is to explore innovative ways in which architecture can be meaningfully shared with the public. We ask professionals from across disciplines of architecture, marketing, photography and media, how they use marketing as a tool to educate the public on Canadian architecture.

Panel 3: Image + Architecture
How has architecture and the job of the architect been communicated through photographs? This topic will examine the role of the media in conveying the importance of thoughtful design and architects through images. In a recent TED talk Marc Kushner, architect, entrepreneur and author, suggests that the public will shape the future of architecture through today’s media revolution, where they have the power to shape architecture through social media. He says that social media, and the advanced rate at which images are now shared through it, has changed the relationship between the public and buildings. In this panel we discuss Kushner’s idea and ask how images affect the public’s understanding of architecture?

Panel 4: Architecture as Icon/ Branding + Toronto Condo Revolution
This panel is aimed at examining the use of architecture and/or the architect as a brand employed for selling or promoting. Since the emergence of the ‘Bilbao effect’ in 1997, when Canadian architect Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum achieved national publicity for the Spanish city, there has been a desire for iconic architecture that will fuel tourism and the economy. This panel will explore the cultural aspiration for ‘famous’ international architects to design local projects in urban centres. This ‘starchitecture’ effect has led to the collection of almost identical architectural icons in cities such as Toronto, London and Dresden, amongst others. Panelist willdebate and discuss how this type of branding has affected the public’s understanding of architecture and our national image.

This panel will also explore the concept of ‘condominiumization’ in Toronto introduced in PARTISAN’s recently published book, Rise and Sprawl. Panelist will examine the nature of advertising residential projects to the public and its effect on public understanding of design. What role do architects, photographers, marketers and digital specialists play in selling these projects?

Speakers will be asked to participate in a special roundtable discussion on the role of marketing in architecture. The aim of this roundtable is to mobilize cross- disciplinary knowledge and research on contemporary architecture and open the conversation to the public.


Download our poster [PDF] and put it up at your work or school


Feel free to email us with any questions you have about the conference: popcancrit@spacing.ca


The symposium will take place at the Design Exchange in Toronto, 234 Bay Street.

Funding Support:

Presenting Partners:

Gold Sponsor:

Silver Sponsors:


Bronze Sponsors:


In-Kind Contributions:



POP / CAN / CRIT 2016

The following information is for the POP/CAN/CRIT event in 2016

PopCanCrit logo-600

PopCanCrit-presenting partners


Spacing Radio documented POP / CAN / CRIT and produced a two-part podcast. You can subscribe to Spacing radio on iTunes or Soundcloud or listen directly from this page.




Check out the photos of POP / CAN / CRIT to see who attended.


Pop Can Crit 2016 from John Serviss on Vimeo.


Canadian Architect editor-in-chief Elsa Lam wrote about the conference.

Building magazine also wrote about the event.

Thank you for helping make POP / CAN / CRIT such a success. Here is the information from our 2016 event. Please note that 2017 information will be made available in the Spring.

WHAT: POP / CAN / CRIT — Current Conditions in Popular Canadian Architecture Criticism
WHERE: Carleton University, Ottawa
WHEN: Friday, October 21, 2016
COST: $15 ($10 for students) The event is sold out (see below for more details)
SHARE: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram — use the hashtag #PopCanCrit


POP / CAN / CRIT: Current Conditions in Popular Canadian Architecture Criticism is a public architecture event that will investigate the conditions of architecture criticism in Canada today. The symposium will bring together 12 of Canada’s leading critical architectural voices, and will see both invited speakers and those in attendance discuss and debate the current state, effectiveness, and future potentials of a professional criticism intended for the general public. As such, the symposium will explore the public, professional, and academic conversations surrounding criticism today, as well as broaden its public audience and understanding. This is an unprecedented occasion within Canada, bringing together the best in Canadian criticism to discuss the state of criticism itself.


  • Shawn Micallef: Spacing, senior editor
  • Alex Bozikovic: Globe and Mail, architecture critic
  • Christopher Hume: Former Toronto Star urban affairs critic
  • Lisa Rochon: Architecture Critic, Author, Design Strategist
  • Sophie Gironnay: Maison de l’architecture du Québec, co-founder and director
  • Elsa Lam: Canadian Architect, editor-in-chief
  • Ian Chodikoff: Architect and urban designer
  • Rhys Phillips: Building and Canadian Interiors, associate editor
  • Trevor Boddy: Architecture curator, critic and consultant
  • David Theodore: McGill University School of Architecture, assistant professor, architecture writer
  • Marco Polo: Ryerson University Department of Architectural Science, associate professor
  • Maria Cook: Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, manager, communications and advocacy


For the full program and list of panels, please download our event schedule [PDF].


The event is sold out but contact popcancrit@spacing.ca to be put on an overflow/wait list See the Eventbrite invitation.


Feel free to email us with any questions you have about the conference: popcancrit@spacing.ca


The conference will take place at the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism at Carleton University in Ottawa. It is located at 


Can you help spread the word about this event? Feel free to download our poster [PDF] and put it up!


PopCanCrit-event partners


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