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13CE- - The Architects as Social Developers of Heritage Sites

07 May 2014 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

1.5 ConEd Learning Hours

This course will also be offered Friday, May 9, 2014 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

Course Outline

Architects have a fundamental role to play in order to realize the social potential of vacant or derelict historic landmarks. Through the presentation of several case studies we will posit that 'recycled' heritage architecture can be a catalyst for community renewal.

Various approaches will be proposed for evaluating the potential of heritage architecture, including urban studies at various scales, architectural and historical census of a site, and financial feasibility studies. An analysis of the gathered information will determine essential conservation elements and appropriate development opportunities.

Obstacles to heritage projects will be addressed, including regulatory, financial and emotional hurdles. Community consultation and an ongoing dialogue with local organizations are employed as a means to build momentum and create consensus around projects, as well as a tool to identify opportunity sites.

Heritage architecture historically acted as a physical cornerstone of a community -an anchor of public space and a symbol of neighbourhood identity. Architects have the skills to harness community initiative and transform disused historic landmarks into new social reincarnations, allowing heritage architecture to reclaim its role as primary actor in the urban and cultural context.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Evaluating the past, existing and future role(s) played by a heritage site in the urban, architectural and community fabric.
  2. Navigating the regulatory, financial, social and emotional constraints to proposed heritage projects.
  3. Harnessing momentum and building community consensus to realize projects.
  4. Designing heritage architecture


Ron Rayside, MOAQ, is the founding partner of Rayside Labossière Inc., an architecture firm specialized in social architecture and urban planning.

An active participant of Montreal community groups since the 1970s, Ron's involvement has ranged from member of various coalitions and steering committees, to president of the board of directors of the Centre-Sud Corporation for Community Economic Development (CDEC), and the Health and Social Services Centre Jeanne-Mance (CSSS). He is a mainstay at Montreal conferences and forums on homelessness and social exclusion, the future of churches in Quebec, and the development of neighbourhoods and "popular" urbanism.

Ron's social involvement informs the philosophy of his architectural practice, and his firm frequently accompanies community groups from the initial phases of project development. Through the preparation of preliminary sketches, economic feasibility studies, or full architectural services from inception to completion of building, Rayside Labossière Inc. facilitates and assists organizations', residents' and businesses' involvement in the urban and architectural projects that shape their communities.

Beyond his role as an architect, Ron is an engaged citizen who actively contributes to the development and revitalization of his surroundings. In 2013 he was awarded the Thérèse-Daviau prize in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the Montreal community.