Ottawa Architecture Week


Weathering the new normal

Sep 28 - Oct 8, 2019


Ottawa Architecture Week is an annual week-long festival that welcomes everyone to explore architecture, urbanism, art and design in Ottawa. It is presented by the Ottawa Regional Society of Architects (ORSA) with the help of local volunteers and businesses.

The theme

Under Water: weathering the new normal

Far too often now, Ottawa is confronted with hundred-year floods, tornadoes, heatwaves, and record snow falls. Many of us either know someone who was, or were ourselves, affected by these unsettling disturbances to our environment, our city infrastructure, and our day-to-day lives. Our relationship with the natural environment has become strained. We’re in urgent need of real solutions. We need to take action now.

Architecture has always had a complex affair with nature. We’re inspired by nature and celebrate it. We try to control nature and to shield ourselves from it. Done recklessly, architecture disrupts the delicate natural balance. From construction, to operation, to maintenance, and through demolition—the building industry has been built on waste, pollution, and consumption. Done with care, architecture can help us both coexist with and enjoy nature.

As we find ourselves in this “new normal” of extreme and unpredictable climate, new architectural challenges are emerging. Ignoring our relationship with and our impact on the natural environment is not an option. What architectural solutions—new and old—can help us mend our relationship with nature? What are we leaving for future generations? How do we move the discussion from survival back to thriving? And, most importantly, why does doing the right thing and living consciously seem insurmountably complicated?


What are the blueprints to our eco-footprint?

This year OAW invites you to explore these environmental phenomena and challenges. Let’s look at tradition, learn from history, admire innovation, and debate social change and responsibility. Together we’ll gauge Ottawa’s resiliency to this extreme weather, discuss preventative and reparative measures — and of course, determine what role architecture plays in all of this. 

Let’s start the conversation.

Join us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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About OAW

Ottawa Architecture Week is a public forum that explores the ways in which architecture and urban design affect our daily lives. Throughout the week, we celebrate the role of architecture and the related trades in a way that is fun and engaging. We strive to bridge the gap between the architectural community and the public, in order to facilitate a constructive dialogue on the relationship between the built environment and Ottawa’s people.

Each annual edition is curated around a trending theme relevant to the architectural profession and the Ottawa–Gatineau community as a whole. The program features a variety of public events that include talks, exhibitions, installations, workshops, film screenings, tours, and panel discussions.

Past editions:


About ORSA

Ottawa Regional Society of Architects is a non-profit volunteer organization that represents the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) within the community. ORSA works to raise the profile of the architectural industry and has given voice to the local architectural profession for over 100 years.

ORSA Membership includes registered members of the OAA, as well as people involved in related industries. ORSA also welcomes members of the general public who have an interest in architecture and want to further their involvement in the architectural community.

ORSA is committed to presenting an informed opinion on issues affecting architecture in the National Capital Region, as well as to increase public awareness of the social importance of architectural design.

For more information, visit the ORSA website.