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Founding partner Marianne McKenna joins TVO’s The Agenda in the Summer panel on architecture

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August 10, 2023

“Architecture is really for people; it’s to enhance people’s lives, it’s to help them build community.” — Marianne McKenna 

Founding partner Marianne McKenna joined Eladia Smoke KaaSheGaaBaaWeak, principal architect of Smoke Architecture; Carol Phillips, design leader and partner at Moriyama Teshima Architects; and Donald Schmitt, principal of Diamond Schmitt Architects on The Agenda in the Summer to discuss what makes a good building and the power of building public spaces. 

Hosted by journalist Nam Kiwanuka, TVO’s The Agenda in the Summer, now in its eighth season, is a forum for knowledge exchange. For six weeks this summer, experts from various fields will participate in in-depth conversations about current affairs — architecture, money and finance, food culture, and more — impacting the lives of Ontarians. 

For its architecture week, Kiwanuka, McKenna, Phillips, Schmitt and Smoke tackled an important topic — the art and politics of design.  

Aired in five parts last week on YouTube (July 31 to August 4), the group discussed the important role community engagement plays in architecture and the obligation architects have to communities to design buildings that serve their needs, buildings that are respectful of their surroundings, buildings that are creative, accessible and environmentally friendly. 

McKenna, whose expertise as an architect spans cities and countries, from the revitalization of Toronto’s historic Massey Hall to the expansion of The Brearley School in Manhattan, also emphasized the need for value-based design.  

“Our values have changed dramatically…we need to be sure that our vision aligns with our values,” she said, noting that architects and their clients are thinking more seriously about equity, Indigenous ways of knowing, and sustainability. 

Watch the episodes here.