The Architect and the Public: On George Baird's Contribution to Architecture

The event is the first of a series of conversations to launch the recently published book The Architect and the Public: On George Baird's Contribution to Architecture (Quodlibet, 2020). The first group of speakers moderated by Roberto Damiani, the book editor, includes Brigitte Shim as a discussant and the volume contributors Joan Ockman, Richard Sommer, Hans Ibelings, Michael Piper, and Andrew Choptiany.


Andrew Choptiany is a Daniels' alumnus and George Baird's former student. He has worked in Canada, America, Japan, and Holland before his current role as a project leader at Carmody Groarke in London. He maintains a broad interest in history, fiction, technology, and philosophy, which feeds directly into his design work

Hans Ibelings is an architectural historian and critic. He holds a PhD in architecture from the University of Coimbra. Since 2012, he has been the editor and publisher of The Architecture Observer. Prior to this, he was the editor and publisher of A10 new European architecture, a magazine he founded in 2004 together with graphic designer Arjan Groot. Read More.

Joan Ockman is a full-time member of the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design. In addition to Penn, Ockman has held teaching appointments at Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Cooper Union, Cornell, Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and the Berlage Institute in the Netherlands. Among her many edited publications are her award-winning anthology Architecture Culture 1943–1968 (Rizzoli, 1993); and Architecture School: Three Centuries of Educating Architects in North America (MIT Press, 2012).

Michael Piper is an architect, urban designer, Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, and principal at dub studios. His design research focuses on the relationship between urban design and urban planning, with particular attention to the suburbs. Read More.

Richard Sommer is an architect and urbanist with over twenty years of experience as a practitioner, educator, and theorist. His design practice, research, and writing take the complex physical geography, culture, technology, politics, and historiography of the contemporary city as a starting point for creating a synthetic, cosmopolitan architecture. In addition to his focus on design in the context of broad trends in urbanization, Sommer has been engaged in a long-­term, multi-­faceted research project examining the transformation of monument making in societies aspiring towards democracy, with a particular focus on “America”. Read More.

Brigitte Shim is a Professor at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto and  a principal at Shim-Sutcliffe Architects. She has been teaching at the Daniels Faculty since 1988, and has overseen core design studios, advanced design studios, thesis studios, and courses in the history and theory of landscape architecture. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Shim graduated from the University of Waterloo with degrees in Environmental Studies and Architecture. Read More.

Roberto Damiani is a Lecturer at Daniels and the editor of The Architect and The Public: On George Baird's Contribution to Architecture. His work as a teacher and scholar looks at architecture and urbanism as cultural practices of public empowerment and engagement.