Beginning with the Seventies
Ruins in Process: Vancouver Art in the Sixties

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  1. Substance Over Spectacle, installation view.
    Photo: Howard Ursuliak.

  2. Substance Over Spectacle, installation view.
    Photo: Howard Ursuliak.

  3. Substance Over Spectacle, installation view.
    Photo: Howard Ursuliak.

  4. Substance Over Spectacle, installation view.
    Photo: Owen Sopotiuk

  5. Substance Over Spectacle: Contemporary Canadian Architecture. Exhibition catalogue. 224 pages, colour and b/w images. Soft cover. Essays by Georges Adamczyk, George Baird, Andrew Gruft, Sherry McKay, and Marco Polo. $39.95.
    ISBN# 1-55152-185-7 — To order contact:, tel. 604.822.2759,
    fax. 604.822.6689.

Substance Over Spectacle

Contemporary Canadian Architecture

Curated by Andrew Gruft

22 April—5 June 2005

Substance over Spectacle: Contemporary Canadian Architecture is an exhibition of projects by Canadian architects built in Canada since the beginning of the nineties, curated by Andrew Gruft. The exhibition is a follow up to Gruft’s survey of Canadian Architecture, A Measure of Consensus, which was organized by the UBC Fine Arts Gallery (now the Belkin) in 1986.

The exhibition presents some of the best and brightest work of the last ten years. It attempts to conceptualize and position architectural practice in Canada. The thesis implicit in the title argues for the complexity and integrity of the best Canadian architecture, in an international context which often bestows the highest profile on buildings that tend toward the spectacular.

The exhibition asks us to consider several theoretical questions while viewing projects by 26 of the country’s leading contemporary architects. We need to ask how the term Canadian Architecture involves a variety of intersecting realities and ideas such as national identity and values, educational standards, geography and climate, urbanization, multi-cultural contexts, bureaucratization, economics and internationalism.

» View the exhibition

We gratefully thank the following for their support of this project: An anonymous couple; Nash Jiwa, Haywood Securities Inc.; Anthony von Mandl, Proprietor Mission Hill Family Estate; Context Development Inc.; and the Architectural Institute of British Columbia.


architectsAlliance, Toronto
atelier big city, Montréal
atelier TAG, Montréal
Baird Sampson Neuert, Toronto
Battersby Howat, Vancouver
Marc Boutin, Calgary
Peter Cardew, Vancouver
James K.M. Cheng, Vancouver
Diamond + Schmitt, Toronto
Faucher Aubertin Brodeur Gauthier, Montréal
Dan S. Hanganu, Montréal
Henriquez Partners / IBI, Vancouver
Hotson Bakker / Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Vancouver / Toronto
Kohn Shnier, Toronto
Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg / Fichten Soiferman et Associés, Toronto / Montreal
Ian MacDonald, Toronto
Brian MacKay-Lyons, Halifax
Patkau Architects, Vancouver
Saucier + Perrotte, Montréal
Shim-Sutcliffe, Toronto
sturgessarchitecture, Calgary
Teeple Architects Inc, Toronto
Pierre Thibault, Québec
VIA Architecture, Vancouver
Walter Francl / Stantec, Vancouver
George Yu, Los Angeles

For further information please contact: Jana Tyner at,
tel: (604) 822-1389, or fax: (604) 822-6689