Marketing Architecture

In what ways do we market architecture? How can we best advocate for the profession? And what impact does a photograph have on our understanding of the built environment? These are but a few of the questions explored at POP // CAN // CRIT 2017. This day-long series of panels and discussions took place on October 27, 2017 at the Design Exchange in Toronto, Canada. It is the second in a progression of symposia meant to look critically at contemporary topics related to the intersections between the public understanding and profession of architecture, specifically within our Canadian context.

POP // CAN // CRIT 2017: Marketing and Promotion of Architecture in Canada brought together the country’s top architects, marketing professionals, photographers, advocacy groups, and media to discuss and debate the vital roles the architect, media, marketing personnel and public play in shaping the general discourse surrounding architecture. The symposium featured various panels exploring topics including: Architecture as Icon/ Toronto Condo Revolution, Advocacy and Activism in Architecture, the Image of Architecture, and Marketing as a tool for Architecture.


Symposium Details

Date: Friday, October 27, 2017

Time: 8:30am - 5:00pm

Venue: Design Exchange: Canada's Design Museum, Toronto, Canada

Speakers + Guests

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Younes Bounhar

doublespace photography, architectural photographer

Instagram: @2spacephoto
Twitter: @2spacephoto

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Naomi Kriss

Kriss Communications, principal + founder

Instagram: @Kriss_Comm
Twitter: @Kriss_Comm


Ben Rahn

A-Frame Studio, architectural photographer

Instagram: @aframestudio


Norm Li

Norm Li, architectural graphic specialist

Instagram: @normandthegang
Twitter: @normandthegang

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Monica Adair

Acre Architects, architect + co-founder

Instagram: @theacre
Twitter: @ACREarchitects

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Adrian Phiffer

University of Toronto - John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, lecturer and Office of Adrian Phiffer

Instagram: @officeofadrianphiffer

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Amanda Large

doublespace photography, architectural photographer

Instagram: @2spacephoto
Twitter: 2spacephoto


Johanna Hurme

5468796 Architecture Inc.

Instagram: @546arch
Twitter: 546arch

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Alex Josephson

PARTISANS, co-founder

Instagram: @partisansarchitecture


Veronica Gillies

Henriquez Partners Architects, architect + director of innovation

Instagram: @henriquezarch
Twitter: @henriquezarch

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Toon Dreessen

Dreessen Cardinal Architects, architect + president

Instagram: @architectsdca
Twitter: @architectsdca

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Nicola Spunt

PARTISANS, director of content and culture

Instagram: @partisansarch
Twitter: @partisansarch


Alex Bozikovic

Globe + Mail, architecture critic

Instagram: @globeandmail

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Susan Algie

Winnipeg Architecture Foundation, director

Instagram: @wpgarch
Twitter: @wpgarch


Shelley True

True Dot Design, president

Instagram: @truedotdesign


Mark Busse

HCMA Architecture + Design, director of creativity + engagement



Vincent Hui

Ryerson University Department of Architectural Science, associate chair

Instagram: @RyersonDAS
Twitter: @RyersonDAS

Panel Topics

Panel 1: Marketing as a Tool for Architecture
This panel, focused on the role of marketing within the architecture profession, saw panelists debate the relevancy of marketing to architecture. It asked, how has marketing and/or promotion benefited the profession or the publics’ opinion of architecture? How has it harmed? What does marketing mean to the architect/ professional/ public, and how will it be used in the future? As we are living in an increasingly globalized society, this panel examined Canada’s role in the global architectural marketplace.

Panel 2: Advocacy and Activism in Architecture
Panel 2 discussed the perceived lack of public understanding regarding the role of the architect and architecture to society, identified by academics and architects in Money: Perspecta 47. Here, panelists were asked to describe examples of best- practice projects that have successfully engaged the public and promoted Canadian architecture and architects. Panelist described personal projects and organizations and how they advocate for the profession and architecture. The purpose of this panel was to explore innovative ways in which architecture can be meaningfully shared with the public. Professionals from across disciplines of architecture, marketing, photography and media, were how they use marketing as a tool to educate the public on Canadian architecture.

Panel 3: Image + Architecture
In this panel, speakers were asked, how has architecture and the job of the architect been communicated through photographs? This topic examined the role of the media in conveying the importance of thoughtful design and architects through images. In a recent TED talk Marc Kushner, architect, entrepreneur and author, suggested that the public will shape the future of architecture through today’s media revolution, where they have the power to shape architecture through social media. He says that social media, and the advanced rate at which images are now shared through it, has changed the relationship between the public and buildings. In this panel we discussed Kushner’s idea and asked, how have images affected the public’s understanding of architecture?

Panel 4: Architecture as Icon/ Branding + Toronto Condo Revolution
Panel 4 aimed to examine the use of architecture and/or the architect as a brand employed for selling or promoting. Since the emergence of the ‘Bilbao effect’ in 1997, when Canadian architect Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum achieved national publicity for the Spanish city, there has been a desire for iconic architecture that will fuel tourism and the economy. This panel explored the cultural aspiration for ‘famous’ international architects to design local projects in urban centres. This ‘starchitecture’ effect has led to the collection of almost identical architectural icons in cities such as Toronto, London and Dresden, amongst others. Panelist debated and discussed how this type of branding has affected the public’s understanding of architecture and our national image.

This panel also explored the concept of ‘condominiumization’ in Toronto introduced in PARTISAN’s recently published book, Rise and Sprawl. Panelist were asked to examine the nature of advertising residential projects to the public and its effect on public understanding of design. We asked, what role do architects, photographers, marketers and digital specialists play in selling these projects?

Speakers were invited to participate in a special roundtable discussion on the role of marketing in architecture. The aim of this roundtable was to mobilize cross- disciplinary knowledge and research on contemporary architecture and open the conversation to the public.


Post event discussion by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

Sponsors + Supporters

Funding Support


Presenting Partners

Gold Sponsor

Silver Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors

In-Kind Contributions

Media + Promotion

Event Poster:

Download the 2017 Symposium Poster.