In its considered response to the globalization of culture, HCMA has consistently achieved an architecture that is expressive of time and place, and uniquely interprets Canadian values of openness and inclusivity. The firm’s concentration on civic buildings denotes a deeply rooted concern for community, and recognition that in contemporary pluralistic society’s schools, libraries and community centres are both symbolically and literally, the meeting places for all sectors of our communities regardless of demography, faith or ethnicity. What distinguishes HCMA’s design approach is its conceptual shift from the traditional departure points of form or function, to a more organic and humanist approach by which inhabitation of the building and its surroundings mediate the interface between these two opposing forces. While function implies an empirical definition of purpose, and form a pre-occupation with sculptural abstraction, inhabitation connotes an understanding that buildings should embrace the richness and diversity with which our lives unfold. PLACES: Public Architecture explores a selection of key projects by HCMA which offer insight into the firm’s specific approach to community building through public architecture. Featured projects typologies, many of which have been challenged by contemporary advancements in technology, include schools, libraries, fire halls, childcare centres, and more. Through the practice of architecture HCMA asks “what is the future of the library, of education, and of public space in an increasingly online age”? The book features critical text by accomplished writer Jim Taggart, professional photography, lucid architectural drawings, and details, as well as a look at the firm’s design process of iterative modeling/diagramming and research on contemporary topics.
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