Will Alsop in Conversation with Christopher Hume: The Sharp Centre for Design & Beyond

Photograph of Will Alsop
Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - 12:00am to 1:30am

Live: Will Alsop in Conversation

Join us for this public lecture celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Sharp Centre for Design!

It's been called "audacious and delightfully strange." 10 years later, the iconic Sharp Centre for Design continues to make a bold statement.

Famed British architect Will Alsop addresses his experience of designing and building the Sharp Centre for Design at OCAD U, and how this has informed his work over the last ten years. Moderated by Christopher Hume, Toronto Star architecture critic.

Seating is limited. Please register today to reserve your spot! 


Check-in opens at 6:00 p.m.
Please arrive by 6:45 p.m. or your seat will be released.

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University 100 McCaul Street Auditorium, Room 190


Gregory H. Woods. Photo Canadian Interiors.

OCAD U hosted a tribute in memory of renowned architect and educator Gregory H. Woods in the auditorium at 100 McCaul Street on Wednesday, January 8. Toronto city councillor Adam Vaughan, Ontario Arts Council director and CEO Peter Caldwell, Woods’s design collaborators Dieter Janssen and Ricardo A. Maturana, Woods’s partner, film producer/director Hadley Obodiac and Wood’s friend and colleague Caroline Robbie all spoke at the event in recognition of his outstanding contribution to architecture, design and the art of life. 

Dr. Sara Diamond, OCAD U’s president, who was traveling internationally on the day of the tribute, recorded a special video tribute for the event. Colleagues in the U.K, affectionately known as Woods’s “London Gang,” also provided a memorial video.

A lasting legacy

One of Woods’s last projects was working as a consultant to ZAS Architects on the designs for the new Lassonde School of Engineering at York University, for which his vision was “the cloud.”  In recognition of Woods’s vision and contribution to fulfilling the dream of this new facility, York University announced the creation of a legacy Gregory H. Woods Fellowship in Innovative Design

Woods was also the lead project architect with Alsop Architects on OCAD U’s Sharp Centre for Design, which opened in 2004 and transformed the campus, elevating both the university and Toronto in the eyes of the world. 

Although based in Toronto, Woods worked on award-winning projects all over Canada, the United States, Europe and the Middle East with Robbie Sane, Robbie/Young and Wright Inc. Alsop and Alsop RMJM, and ZAS and ZAS/Taylor Smyth. He was the principal in the firm Gregory Woods Associates. Woods was a graduate of Ryerson University and The Bartlett at UCL. He also studied at OCAD U for a year in 1987-88. He dedicated many hours of teaching design and art history at the Ryerson School of Interior Design and lectured all over the world, including at OCAD U. 

Woods passed away in July, 2013, leaving behind many friends and colleagues at OCAD U.

Learn more:

OCAD U remembers Gregory H. Woods 

The Sharp Centre for Design 

The Lassonde School of Engineering

OCAD University appoints architect Will Alsop as Adjunct Professor

Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 5:00am

Alsop’s appointment to be celebrated at a book launch
for Will Alsop – The Noise tonight, 6 p.m. at OCADU

(Toronto — January 13, 2011) The Faculty of Design at OCAD University announced today that it has appointed internationally renowned architect Will Alsop, designer behind the Sharp Centre for Design at OCAD University, as an Adjunct Professor. His appointment commenced in November, 2010 and will continue until 2013.

“The Faculty of Design only offers an Adjunct Professor appointment to distinguished individuals who have the special expertise needed to complement our academic programs,” explained Doreen Balabanoff, Acting Dean of OCADU’s Faculty of Design. “Professor Alsop is engaging with us to develop research collaborations and new educational opportunities, at both the undergraduate and graduate level. We value his unique and imaginative approach, his hallmark commitment to connectivity between art and design, and his interest in social issues and innovative participatory design processes.”

In September, Alsop will being teaching an Architectural Design Studio course for upper year undergraduate students, focusing on the local urban context, in collaboration with architect Greg Woods, who worked with him on OCADU’s iconic Sharp Centre for Design, and remains an ongoing business partner.

“Professor Alsop will make a valued contribution to the Faculty of Design and particularly to Environmental Design as it moves forward in defining its future,” expressed Bruce Hinds, Chair of Environmental Design at OCADU.

“Professor Alsop will fulfill the role of eminent guest critic and lecturer, to both our graduate students and thesis level undergraduate students,” commented Martha Ladly, Chair of OCADU’s Interdisciplinary Art, Media and Design Masters program. “Through his practice, Will Alsop has proven to the world his commitment to standards of excellence, and to the necessity of design for humanity through sustainable practices, creativity and imagination. All of these are cornerstones of OCAD University’s philosophy and strategic plans.”

Book launch and signing for Will Alsop – The Noise
Tonight, January 13, 6 p.m.

Alsop and his appointment at the university will be celebrated at a book launch and signing this evening for Will Alsop – The Noise, written by late author Tom Porter and published by Routledge. The event will be held in OCADU’s Great Hall, starting at 6 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

The Noise describes the unique state of Professor Alsop’s inventive mind before the creative imagination starts, and shows how his design process acts as a conduit that catches the dreams and aspirations of others.

The book reveals the creative and artistic vision of Professor Alsop in astonishing detail, charting the design process behind some of his most celebrated buildings, including the coveted Stirling Prize-winning Peckham Library (2000) and the Sharp Centre for Design at OCADU.

Will Alsop comments: “Tom Porter’s expertise in architecture, colour and graphics was second to none and his passing earlier this year was a tremendous loss,” said Alsop. “It is testament to his brilliance that he was able to tackle such an abstract subject and deliver a book that is both revelatory and entertaining.”

Elements of a collaborative project initiated by Professor Alsop, a “two-city exhibition” entitled EnRoute: Proper Behaviour in the Park, will also be on display in the Great Hall. This project engaged OCADU students in a ‘transatlantic painting project’, with Alsop receiving images from OCADU students working in Toronto, as he was painting two large canvases at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. The project asks the mischievous question, “What would you do in public space?”

More about Will Alsop
Professor Alsop is one of the UK’s most prominent architects and is a respected artist who has applied his bold and colourful approach to award-winning projects across the world. His stance is that art and architecture are inseparable disciplines and he actively promotes artistic contribution to the built environment. He is guided by the principle that architecture is both a vehicle and symbol of social change and renewal.

His many awards include the Royal Fine Art Commission Building of the Year Special Award for Fawood Children’s Centre (London, UK), a project that was also shortlisted for the Stirling Prize in 2005.

Alsop is guided by the principle that architecture is both a vehicle and symbol of social change and renewal. This philosophy extends from the design of individual buildings to embracing broader principles of urbanism and city development. He has expertise across every sector, including transportation, health, education, retail, residential, office, public, hospitality, leisure and interiors.

Will Alsop has worked extensively across the UK and internationally, with major projects in cities such as Toronto, Marseilles, Hamburg, Shanghai, Singapore and New York. Recent projects in the UK include the Chips apartments in Manchester, The Public, an exhibition space in West Bromwich, and the Puddle Dock luxury hotel development on the north bank of the River Thames.

In addition to his design work, Alsop follows a parallel path as an artist. His stance is that art and architecture are inseparable disciplines and he actively promotes artistic contribution to the built environment. His paintings and sketches have been exhibited at Sir John Soane’s Museum, Milton Keynes Gallery, Cube Gallery, Manchester and the British Pavilion at Venice Biennale.

Alsop has held many academic posts around the world. He is currently a professor at the Technical University of Vienna. For several years he was a tutor of sculpture at Central St Martins College of Art & Design in London and was visiting professor at institutions including the University of Hanover, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and San Francisco Institute of Art. Alsop is a Royal Academician and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada.

About OCAD University (OCADU)
OCAD University (www.ocad.ca) is Canada’s “University of the Imagination.” The University, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

About the Faculty of Design at OCADU
The Faculty of Design provides a provocative, diverse and culturally rich environment, guiding the development of critical thinking, innovation and responsiveness in the context of human and environmental needs. Our primary objective is to enable students to develop their own voice in the formation of ideas and in the expression of these ideas through both verbal and visual language.

We seek to empower each student to develop a personal voice grounded in historical and contemporary knowledge, equipped with vital skills in creative practice as well as critical analysis.

Our guiding theme of ‘design and humanity’ provides a strong and ethical foundation for all of our programs, and shapes our students’ educational experience. Drawing on depth of insight, our emerging designers and thought leaders will shape, enhance and transform the world in which they live, creating innovative responses to changing economic, technological and social realities.

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Download this release as a PDF file.

For more information contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416.977.6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)