The partnership with McGill University, Université de Montréal, and Université de Laval in Québec City will support the creation of an international exchange program with schools in Sweden, promoting idea-sharing between foreign and local specialists through workshops, lectures, and conferences. The theme "Tomorrow’s Cities" will be tested in the Knivsta area, between Stockholm and Uppsala. Each professor will take a distinct approach in reading the shared site, leading their students in divergent directions that encourage them to pose unexpected proposals from underexplored dimensions.
Students at the Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture at McGill University will explore porosity as an inherent quality of place and a corequisite for its densification. Led by Associate Professor Nik Luka, a specialist in ethnography, landscape, and planning, the studio will move away from the 20th century model of densification - introverted towers, segregated zoning, and disconnected blocks - to encourage opening and mixing, proposing new social possibilities and ecological potentials. By implementing the project in Sweden, the students benefit by learning the design process in a sustainable and equitable society where all citizens participate in making as part of a common and shared public effort.
Université de Montréal students will explore the city as a space for interconnection through negotiation between cultures and generations led by Adjunct Professor Alice Covatta, whose research concentrates on health-integration in urban design to create durable communities. The studio will focus on the daily environment, and ask how to create meaningful moments of interaction against the backdrop of globalization? Where are the possibilities to embed specificity within a vast reality of instantaneous new cities and serial developments of "universal" housing models?
Université de Laval students will design the place "where the future lives" under the direction of Adjunct Professor Michael R. Doyle, a specialist in philosophy, geology, and spatial econometrics. Under the name of Värdshus, a self-managed inn, the workshop program is told as a story of the 6 innkeepers who invite students to reflect on the themes of space, time, and life through the work of philosopher Michel Serres.
"Atelier NEUF will provide a platform for exchange for students and professors, with the goal of fostering cultural exchanges and research collaborations between Québec's three universities and the rest of the world. Young architects will thus learn to think and act globally, and thus improve communication across borders." - Martin Bressani, Director of the Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture at McGill University.
Common to the three studios, the combined work will bring a critical reflection on how architects can contribute to the development of contemporary metropolises. How will future generations deal with the interrelated challenges of urban densification, urban development, and environmental resilience? This burning question, which rightly evokes similar questions raised by the Montréal Agenda 2030 for Quality and Exemplarity in Design and Architecture, will be the focus of academic debate in the coming months, one that NEUF intends to support for years to come.