• Design Matters series: Colonization Through Design and Situated Practices in Architecture and Politics
    Sarah Bonnemaison and Christine Macy
    Kai Wood Mah, Gavin Renwick, and Patrick Lynn Rivers
    Dalhousie Architectural Press, 2023
    Dalhousie Architectural Press

Patama Roonrakwit, principal, CASE Studio, Bangkok, 2003. Courtesy Kai Wood Mah and Patrick Lynn Rivers

Dalhousie Architectural Press’s Design Matters series engages with issues driving contemporary architecture and urbanism; it combines scholarly and critical essays with studies of innovative design work. The first two titles bring important perspectives to the politics of architectural practice in communities which are recovering from legacies of colonial exploitation and resisting its present-day incarnation of neoliberalism. Gavin Renwick’s Colonization Through Design explores the extent to which housing and ideas of domesticity were fundamental to the colonization of Indigenous people in Canada, and how these structures continue to fail them. It presents designs that link innovative technical solutions with Indigenous knowledge to generate cultural continuity and environmental sustainability. Situated Practices in Architecture and Politics, edited by Kai Wood Mah and Patrick Lynn Rivers, brings together architectural practices from around the globe to critique the working method and embedded social and political biases within “normal” architectural practice, and to consider how these ground-breaking practices produce architecture differently.

Sarah Bonnemaison, series coeditor of Design Matters, is a professor of architecture at Dalhousie University. Following architectural degrees from Pratt Institute and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she completed a doctorate in human geography at the University of British Columbia, with a thesis on the bicentennial commemoration of the French Revolution in Paris. Her scholarly research focuses on cultural landscapes and temporary urbanism. Coauthored publications in this area include Installations by Architects (Princeton Architectural Press, 2009); Festival Architecture (Routledge, 2008); and Architecture and Nature: Creating the American Landscape (Routledge, 2003). In her design-research program on lightweight and tensile structures and experimental form-finding, she has led several large collaborative research projects on the theme of architecture and movement, and on the integration of electronics in architectural textiles.

Christine Macy, series coeditor of Design Matters, was dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Planning at Dalhousie University (2008–19). After architectural studies at University of California Berkeley, the Technical University of Vienna, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she interned with Mack Architects, where she was project architect for Kashi District Housing in Fukuoka. In 1990, she established Filum Ltd with Sarah Bonnemaison, specializing in lightweight structures and public space design. Projects include the Fuji Pavilion in the Montreal Botanical Gardens, the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre in Nova Scotia, and temporary architecture for festivals in Vancouver. Their books include Festival Architecture (Routledge, 2007); Responsive Textile Environments (TUNS Press, 2007); and the Graham-funded Architecture and Nature: Creating the American Landscape (Routledge, 2003), which received the Society of Architectural Historians Alice Davis Hitchcock Award in 2005.

Gavin Renwick, contributing author and editor of Colonization Through Design, has taught in and worked through architecture, design, fine art, and curation. He has degrees from Napier College, Edinburgh; the Royal College of Art, London; and the University of Dundee. In 2005 Renwick was appointed professor and chair of Art and Policy at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee; he joined the University of Alberta in 2010. Renwick has realized projects across Europe, as well as in Turkey and Canada. His present work places the practitioner-researcher as a cultural intermediary between Indigenous and metropolitan culture. His applied and curatorial practice aims to facilitate cultural continuity for First Nations communities, particularly in the Canadian Northwest Territories.

Kai Wood Mah and Patrick Lynn Rivers, coeditors of Situated Practices in Architecture and Politics, also codirect Afield, a design research practice bringing comparative interdisciplinary perspectives to contemporary social issues. The practice is critically informed by the integration of design and social science methodologies that advance research-creation. Projects in their situated practice range from investigations of progressive housing solutions for refugees in South Africa to the adaptive reuse of a shuttered Chicago public school located within a community impacted by post-industrialism and demographic change. Mah is a design historian, licensed architect in Quebec, and associate professor of architecture at Laurentian University. Mah's architectural practice is interdisciplinary and grounded in site-specific investigations employing archives, fieldwork, social science methodologies, and research-creation. His work includes designing and building community centers and institutional spaces with Cree and Inuit communities in Northern Quebec. His writings have appeared in Visual Studies; Children, Youth and Environments; and Interventions, as well as other peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes. Rivers is a political scientist, currently associate professor in the Liberal Arts faculty of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Broadly interested in culture, politics and policy, and society, Rivers’s scholarship is presented in the book Governing Hate and Race in the United States and South Africa (SUNY Press, 2008) as well as in peer-reviewed articles in Critical Studies in Media Communication, the South African Law Journal, and Space and Culture. His published writings on contemporary political concerns have run as opinion pieces in the Star (Toronto), The Star (Johannesburg), and New City (Chicago), as well as long-form journalism in the progressive Canadian magazine Briarpatch.

Dalhousie Architectural Press is an academic press based in the Faculty of Architecture and Planning of Dalhousie University in Canada. The Press publishes books and monographs on Canadian and global architecture, design research, urban design, and development. The goal is to foster a wider appreciation of architecture and its allied disciplines in Canada and beyond by featuring the work of exemplary practitioners and providing a critical context for a broader discussion of the built environment.