OAA kicks off SHIFT Architecture Challenge

Friday, October 12, 2018

The SHIFT Architecture Challenge, created by the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA), is a new program being launched to highlight the distinct contribution architects and architectural thinking bring to addressing key societal issues.

The program, which launched on September 28, invites Ontario architects and their teams to respond to an identified area of concern using their skills and insights, with the goal of increasing public dialogue on the subject. The OAA challenges architects to further enhance the public’s perception of the field as a catalyst to creating positive social change.

The competition will recognize the submissions that best embody these qualities when responding to the challenge. It highlights the importance of architectural thinking as a social factor that impacts the well-being of people and the planet and elevates the architectural profession to be seen by the public in a new light while showcasing how design thinking can be used in all aspects of life.

The 2019 SHIFT Architecture Challenge hopes to bring to the forefront responsible, innovative and inspiring architectural solutions to the challenges the world currently faces, including climate change, forced migration, poverty and an aging population.

Starting next year, the program will operate on a two-year cycle, running in odd years (2019, 2021, etc.). Each edition of the program will centre on a specific theme. For the 2019 program, the theme is “infrastructure,” which can include anything from transit, water systems, housing, hospitals and electrical grids to planning regulations, definitions of family, immigration laws and the status of First Nations, Inuit and Metis.

The SHIFT 2019 Infrastructure/Architecture Challenge asks Ontario-based architects to show how architectural thinking can promote social equity, reduce isolation or embody social justice. Submissions that have been selected by a jury will form the basis for a broader conversation on the issue promoted by OAA, including a book publication, media outreach and an exhibition debuting at the 2019 OAA Annual Conference, which will take place in Quebec City in May 2019.

The deadline to turn in submissions is January 18, 2019. For more information, please visit

One thought on “OAA kicks off SHIFT Architecture Challenge

  1. At Optimal Performance Consultants we are so pleased to see this initiative on the part of the OAA. For over 29 years of being in the business of human factors design, and thanking Architects for keeping us in business, this initiative gives us hope. In our firm we have worked closely and successfully with design engineers, industrial engineers and product engineers. The counter part to these groups are architects and interior designers, few of whom worked with us and many other excellent human factors design and ergonomic firms. Thus our thankfulness to A&D for keeping us in the business of cleaning up after poor design implementation. We hope now, with this award that the A&D community will knock on our doors seeking the unique human factors, human centred and universal design, in the same way that industrial designers, engineers and product engineers have done for the last 29 years. If any of the architects who aim to seek this award are interested in ergonomic knowledge, human factors and human centred design, we would love to finally collaborate in a meaningful and outcome based way. JESleeth Founder Optimal Performance Consultants Inc.

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