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Opening Keynote: Brian MacKay-Lyons. Photo: Janine Kropla

Fabricating Atmosphere

February 12, 2018 — 

The Faculty of Architecture hosted its 10th annual Atmosphere Symposium February 1-3, 2018, on the theme of Fabrications.

Each year this symposium brings together researchers and designers from across the region and around the world for scholarly exchange. Just as importantly, this interdisciplinary event gathers students and professors from all five allied disciplines within the Faculty – Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Interior Design, Environmental Design, and City Planning. Each discipline takes turns leading this event. This year, Atmosphere was co-Chaired by Lisa Landrum and Liane Veness, representing the Department of Architecture and the Centre for Architectural Structures and Technology (C.A.S.T.).

As the symposium title suggests, Atmosphere explores the ephemeral and experiential conditions of the enveloping world. Difficult to pin-down, capture and express, atmospheres are what designers and interpreters of the built environment strive to understand, generate and meaningfully engage.

Each year a sub-theme orients this atmospheric discourse. The theme of Fabrications was selected as a shared focus to celebrate and advance the Faculty of Architecture’s world-class fabrication facilities – including C.A.S.T. – while also generating critical discourse on the myriad ways of making that extend far beyond the digital.

Fabrications (in Latin fabrica) means to make. This synthetic topic encompasses places of making, activities of making, makers, and all things made. And what designers make is not reducible to material fabrications but includes narrative and cultural constructs. So, this Fabrications symposium invited participants to consider complexities of urban and social fabrics; intricacies of environmental skins, or mediating fabrics; potentials of building sites, workshops and all the contingencies of fabricating in situ; as well as the stories and arguments through which we make sense of our fabricated world – the fabled and fabulous narratives of fabricating truth.

Atmosphere 10: Fabrications included four distinguished keynote presentations, 16 peer-reviewed paper presentation, and ten installations, including an Ice Bar and ice sculptures in the courtyard, experimental films, the Brickworks student fabrications contest, and a live musical performance by a C.A.S.T. Research-in-Residence. A full program of presenters and abstracts may be seen on the website,, and downloaded here.

Stay tuned for announcements about Atmosphere 11: Adaptations.

This symposium was made not only possible and pleasurable but intellectually provocative by the coordinated efforts of many contributors: Tali Budman, the student wizard behind the website and graphics; Brandy O’Reilly and Rob Freeman, the professionals in our communications office; the Cultural Events Committee, namely Marcella Eaton, Orly Linovski, Tijen Roshko and Kim Wiese; members of the CAST Committee, especially Lancelot Coar and Dietmar Straub, who helped shape the Fabrications theme; and other faculty serving as moderators and/or peer-reviewers, including Alan Tate, David van Vliet, and Neil Minuk. Many students contributed to the success of the event, especially a troupe of energetic student fabricators – Connery Friesen, Steven Hung, Jessica Piper, Andrew Simonson, Dylan Hewlett and Janine Kropla; and a team of Student Ambassadors – Kara Boboski, Simone Sucharov-Benarroch, Marina Herscovitch, Andrea Doussis, Rachel Teichroew, Medeleine Dafoe, Leah Komishon, and Sulah Kim. Atmosphere 10 was financially supported by the Faculty of Architecture’s Endowment Fund, the Faculty of Architecture, the Department of Architecture, the University of Manitoba Travel and Scholarship Fund, and generous material donations of a local fabrication shop WOODANCHOR.

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