Site Alive, November 27–Feb 7

Installation view of in.side.out. Harbourfront Centre. Photography: Tom Bilenkey.


Idea Tank Design Collective

September 29–December 23, 2012


Architecture shelters us from nature’s inconsistency. This shelter/containment would seem to be at cross-purposes with our experience of the sublime, but architecture can allow a space for nature to express something particular: the dazzling sunset, the vast horizon, the vertical forest, or the expansive sky. There is an opportunity in architecture to trigger an awareness of nature’s profound possibilities. Ironically then, it can be through perceptual framing that architecture can activate our consciousness of the sublime.

in.side.out explores the threshold conditions that determine our perception of inside and outside. In architecture, a window or a door can frame an exchange between contained and boundless space.

These openings can be considered more than frames for viewing, but also as apertures for light; a natural element that defines and characterizes the spaces we inhabit. Through the use and manipulation of light, shadow, and human perception, we investigate how architecture can both define and expand perceptual and physical space, thereby testing its inner and outer edges, reaching towards a moment of the sublime.



Idea Tank Design Collective is comprised of five designers who first met while studying architecture in Halifax at Dalhousie University. The members are now based in different cities across Canada and continue to collaborate on various projects.

The team shares a common ethos in practicing architecture, rooted in a desire to be involved in both the designing and building aspects of projects. The team has a diverse set of skills that extend beyond architecture into construction, graphic design, photography and fine art. They believe that architecture is a means of place making, and a way of enhancing and supporting the regional characteristics of culture, landscape, and ecology, which define a site.

Their most accomplished projects include a children’s camp on Prince Edward Island, designed and built over a period of four months, and a dining hall in Ross Creek, Nova Scotia, for the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts.

Project Team: Matthew Kennedy and Mark Erickson of Studio North, a small design practice based in Calgary, Andrew Choptiany practicing in Toronto, Clayton Blackman based in Vancouver, and Sam Lock based in Halifax.