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Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects, TIFF Bell Lightbox, 2010. Toronto, ON. Photography: Maris Mezulis.

Architecture Special Event: Too Tall? Panel Discussion

November 2, 2011

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As a meeting place to engage audiences on topics relating to contemporary architecture, Harbourfront Centre has invited architects Peter Clewes,
Bruce Kuwabara
and Richard Witt to participate on a conversation panel to expand on ideas presented in the exhibition TOO TALL? Journalist and urban critic, Roberta Brandes Gratz, also joins the group and Misha Glouberman moderates for an evening that probes deeper into the question: How tall is too tall?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Brigantine Room

Click here to learn more about the exhibition TOO TALL?


Peter Clewes, architectsAlliance


Peter Clewes has 30 years experience in architecture and urban design. He is a strong proponent of residential and mixed-use intensification as a tool for ensuring the economic, cultural and social vitality of the urban core. Clewes is a member of the Waterfront Toronto Design Review Panel (together with Bruce Kuwabara), and speaks to professional, academic and civic groups across Canada and the United States on the issues related to design, density and urban renewal.


Photography: James Reid.

Bruce Kuwabara, KPMB Architects


Bruce Kuwabara is a founding partner of Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects and one of Canada’s leading architects. In 2006, he received the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Gold Medal, Canada’s highest honour awarded to an individual architect. His recent projects include the TIFF Bell Lightbox in downtown Toronto, the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa and the ground-breaking bioclimatic Manitoba Hydro Place in Winnipeg. His current projects include the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, the Art Gallery of Saskatchewan and the winning design competition scheme for the new Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University in Illinois. Kuwabara is the first Chair of Waterfront Toronto Design Review Panel and sits on the board of directors for the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal.


Richard Witt, RAW


Richard Witt’s professional experience is characterized by a strong interest in mixed use urban development locally and internationally. He has lived and worked in seven countries across three continents on commercial, residential and institutional projects at scales ranging from urban infill to headquarters for some of the world’s largest organizations. In 2007, he was a founding partner of RAW, receiving the OAA Award for Best Emerging Practice in 2009.

He was one of three Ontario architects invited to accompany the Ontario Premier representing the province’s green build sector in the 2009 Clean Technology trade mission to India, which has led to an established presence for RAW in South Asia and several ongoing projects in India and China.

Supplementary appointments currently include co-chair of the Toronto Society of Architects, Faculty at the Institute without Boundaries and sitting on the inaugural City of Vaughan Design Review Panel. He has been a panel moderator, presenter and exhibitor on issues such as the appropriate international development and the trends and opportunities inherent in tall buildings.


Roberta Brandes Gratz, Journalist and Urban Critic

Special Guest

Roberta Brandes Gratz’s newest book is The Battle For Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs. She is a New York-based award-winning journalist and urban critic, international lecturer and also author of The Living City: Thinking Small in a Big Way, and Cities Back from the Edge: New Life for Downtown.

Her articles have appeared in many publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Nation Magazine.

Gratz was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2003 and recently left that position for an appointment to the Mayor’s Sustainability Advisory Committee.

In 2005, in collaboration with Jane Jacobs, Gratz and a small group of accomplished urbanists founded the Center for the Living City, to build on Jacobs’s work. This includes publishing, What We See: Advancing the Observations of Jane Jacobs and sponsoring Jane’s Walks, self-organized walking tours around the country on the weekend of Jacobs’s birthday.


Photography: Lee Towndrow.

Misha Glouberman


Misha Glouberman is the host of Trampoline Hall, a non-expert barroom lecture series invented by Sheila Heti. He runs a number of participatory events, including Terrible Noises for Beautiful People, where non-musicians create improvised sound pieces together. He is the author, also with Sheila Heti, of The Chairs Are Where the People Go, a book of everything he knows, published by Faber and Faber, and recently described by the New Yorker as humane and hilarious. This fall, he is teaching a class called How to Talk to People About Things, an introduction to negotiation and communication skills, presented by the Barnicke Gallery at Hart House, University of Toronto. He claims to be Canada’s foremost charades instructor, a claim which has thus far gone unchallenged. He is available to facilitate conferences and meetings, with the goal of creating useful interactions between participants. To learn more or to get announcements of his events, visit

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