Catching Up With Life

Canadian Centre for Architecture


Aaron M. Cohen, The Communitarians, 2005, Photograph © Aaron M. Cohen
From March 1, 2021 until April 1, 2022
The CCA embarks on a one-year exploration of architecture’s ability (or lack of) to evolve in dialogue with society, engaging various collaborations and curatorial formats.
The built environment conditions the ways we live, so how could we imagine for architecture to become a more attuned platform for society to exist?
This question posed by Giovanna Borasi, Director of the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) as part of the inaugural text released within A Social Reset—a new thematic web issue launched as part of Catching Up With Life—defines a one-year exploration that will critically depict where we are now. Catching Up With Life looks at how architecture and urbanism can better respond to contemporary questions related to emerging and evolving models around the concepts of family, love, friendship, work, labour, governance, ownership, debt, consumerism, fertility, death, time, retirement, automation, and digital omnipresence.
Questioning social norms, current spatial organizations, and the ways in which architecture mediates and represents—or, more pertinently, fails to mediate and represent—individuals and their communities, Catching Up With Life will take its time and listen sincerely to ways in which architecture and the built environment can respond more aptly to, and at times anticipate, our changing set of needs. Specifically: this project will unfold over a period of one year into an institution- wide set of initiatives to explore the process of architecture’s intersection with wider social, economic, and political contexts that are shaping urban life.
This endeavor is as ambitious as it is humble, and will necessarily cross many forms: a short documentary titled When We Live Alone, the second in a three- part documentary series; a publication A Section of Now: Social Norms and Rituals as Sites for Architectural Intervention, co-published with Spector Books and available in November 2021 in anticipation of the exhibition of the same title, opening 6 November 2021 in Montreal; a new thematic web issue, A Social Reset, will continue the conversation online; a live online lecture series titled An Extended Family; and an Instagram pilot, a podcast, among others, will all offer points on this evolving map, outlining a new relationship between the spaces in which we live and the ways we live within them.
Aaron M. Cohen, The Communitarians, 2005, Photograph © Aaron M. Cohen
Aaron M. Cohen, The Communitarians, 2005, Photograph © Aaron M. Cohen
Aaron M. Cohen, The Communitarians, 2005, Photograph © Aaron M. Cohen
Aaron M. Cohen, The Communitarians, 2005, Photograph © Aaron M. Cohen
Aaron M. Cohen, The Communitarians, 2005, Photograph © Aaron M. Cohen
Aaron M. Cohen, The Communitarians, 2005, Photograph © Aaron M. Cohen
Aaron M. Cohen, The Communitarians, 2005, Photograph © Aaron M. Cohen
Aaron M. Cohen, The Communitarians, 2005, Photograph © Aaron M. Cohen
Aaron M. Cohen, The Communitarians, 2005, Photograph © Aaron M. Cohen
Aaron M. Cohen, The Communitarians, 2005, Photograph © Aaron M. Cohen