suburban siberia

transitioning from Los Angeles back to Edmonton

Month: September, 2014

the chalet

I have found the Cadillac of suburban homes nestled area of Summer Side.

This neighbourhood is described as “a newer neighbourhood built around a beautiful resort style lake. Combining city living with a day at the beach it is assured that there is no other neighbourhood like Summerside in all of Edmonton.

Beautiful is bit of a stretch as a descriptor for the community, but I will write a bit more about Summer Side in another post. For now I’d like to focus solely on this interpretation in a suburban locked community. I’ve found the mullet townhouse in Terwillegar that juxtaposes two dissimilar materials but this home combines an abundance of chalet like peaks in combination with capital investment to make this beauty feel like you are on a permanent vacation with its joyful yellow colour and it’s possible gross over exaggeration of interior spaces.

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When I saw this home I immediately thought of the Inntel Hotel and Conference Centre designed by WAM in Amsterdam.



271_3_WAM-architecten_InntelHotel_Zaandam_04 (2)

I think this formation is pretty rad as a hotel and conference centre. Large programatic spaces like these can be difficult to show refined detail and often result in one large movement. This happens with the Inntel Hotel as a stacking typology, except due to the type of shapes they specify (traditional houses in Amsterdam) they have several configurations within itself allowing for stylized cohesive differentiation.

Specifically this is a façade treatment. The plan inside the conference centre could be ordinary which is what I believe the suburban house regulates to as well. I suppose each of those peaks in the house could signify a separate room, but I think it is doubtful.  There are several versions of this house throughout the City of Edmonton, but I feel this one shows itself like a prize pony. Bland Opulence at it’s best. To summarize so you are not confused. Hotel and conference centre: good. Yellow suburban chalet: pretty bad.

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The photos of the Summer Side house do not seem to show off its garish largeness the way I hoped because of the other monster houses beside it, but it’s bit like meeting someone with too much make up on their face. It’s impossible not to stare and you wonder how they can’t possibly know what they have done to themselves. But like this house, when photographed it probably looks fine, if not a better version of itself…or sometimes not.


August has been hectic and rewarding for several reasons. One of them was because of a lead up to a reunion exhibition for my 2004 Alumni class from the Fine Art Program at MacEwan University. Originally Kyleanne, one of our classmates suggested a get together and then Amy, another classmate, suggested an exhibition. Several of us formed a committee and then worked our way through the list of classmates to see who would be on board. I would say it came together fairly easily even though half of the class lives outside of Edmonton. Of course it was a bit of work to bring it all together but we had several parties involved (MacEwan’s Alumni Association, Leslie Sharpe, Chair of the Fine Art Program and the Students Union at MacEwan) to helped make the process come together nicely which culminated in a lovely opening this past Friday. There were 27 graduates that year and 19 of us participated in the exhibition.

I have curated a few shows before but this time was different because while the artwork was important it seemed we were curating an emotion or expectations for where we should be today. This is tricky because nostalgia is inherently cliché, which was something we originally covered as part of our assignments with Darci Mallon, a thoughtful and wise instructor we had at MacEwan. As a committee we tried to capitalize on the individuality of our successes within our families and our professions with a background in fine arts. We themed the show ‘Self Portrait’, allowing the exhibitors to express in diverse mediums where they are today.  We also created a lovely catalog with funding from the Alumni Association giving us an opportunity to connect in print as well as for those who were able to come to the reunion event.

The exhibition is open from Sept 12 – Oct 3rd. I will upload photos from the show once I get them from the Alumni office. But for now if interested you can preview the catalog, poster and map that illustrates where we have all lived since graduation (red) and where we continued on to study (blue) there after. I also included a few installation photos and one photo from Teresa’s Facebook page (another classmate) that she uploaded from the opening.

10 Again poster 

10 Again Catalog