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Panel: What is Smart Now?


This Tuesday evening at 630pm, WORKSHOP – which is a design studio, gallery, and retail shop located in Yorkville, Toronto – will be hosting a panel discussion titled: What is Smart Now?

On the panel will be a building scientist, a computer scientist, and two architects. The moderator will be Larry Wayne Richards, who is Creative Director of WORKSHOP and the former dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto. He was dean when I was completing my undergraduate degree and is one of my favorite people in the world of Toronto architecture.

Here’s a bit more on the panel:

For more than half a century, visionaries and companies such as Monsanto, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and Samsung have promoted the concept of technologically smart homes with highly integrated, interactive systems.  However few of these homes have actually been realized, leaving us to wonder why.

Meanwhile, architects, builders, and home owners have become aware of the advantages of being smart in terms of energy efficiency and sustainability, from using common sense to selectively employing high-tech.  

But now, with the digital realm and software advancing rapidly, will sophisticated smart home systems merge with recent advances in high performance materials and energy-efficient construction, making “totally smart” (and affordable) homes commonplace? Will we finally be living in the magical future that was imagined 50 years ago?  And what are the implications for architects and architectural education?

And here are the panelists:

  • PAUL DOWSETT, Architect and Founding Principal, Sustainable TO
  • SRINIVASAN KESHAV, Professor of Computer Science, University of Waterloo
  • TED KESIK, Professor of Building Science, University of Toronto
  • JANNA LEVITT, Founding Partner, LGA Architects, Toronto
  • LARRY WAYNE RICHARDS (Moderator), Creative Director, WORKSHOP

Given the current “Internet of Things” trend and the fact that software is creeping into so many non-tech fields, such as housing, I think this is a really timely discussion to be having. I also think it’s critical for these kinds of conversations to be cross-disciplinary. There are infinite opportunities in the housing market for people who are able to think in that way.

If you’d like to attend, click here to sign up. It’s free and open to the public. WORKSHOP is located in the lower concourse level of 80 Bloor Street West.


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