When Field Notes Press began publishing pamphlets on topics related to architecture in 1986, the editors were interested in field conditions, in specific sites, and in well situated responses to localized problems. Topics ranged from those as general as “Water” to ones as focused as “The Caladas of Barcelona.” The pamphlets were an initial attempt to fill a void: Canada lacked a medium for architects, urban designers, landscape architects, and related design disciplines to discuss the specific contexts they worked within while addressing broader themes and issues.
At the time, independent publishing in Canada was a vacuum, with no consistent or relevant academic journals for young designers to contribute to. Canadian architecture needed a forum to collect the ideas and ambitions of an emerging generation of designers: a repository for the designers working, learning, and solving problems abroad: a way to showcase work from across the country, highlighting questions, ideas, and solutions within the Canadian built environment.
Under this agenda On Site review was born. In 1998, when its regular publishing schedule began, its first priority was to address the atomization of Canadian architecture and design. Rather than moving towards a homogenized Canadian approach to architecture, the mandate of On Site review was to celebrate the many approaches to built culture in Canada: to represent the regional and the contributions of different groups within each region, including indigenous communities, new immigrant communities, queer communities, female professionals, students, and academics.
The Site Magazine as the latest evolution of Field Notes Press and On Site review, has maintained this agenda; in a globalized context, contemporary architectural discourse, now more than ever, must be positioned within wide-ranging and far-reaching topics to address the concerns of a constantly-connected generation. Entering its 20th year, The Site Magazine continues to offer a singular opportunity for young and independent design professionals and academics to contribute to a relevant body of knowledge produced in Canada. Canadian architecture and urbanism is representative of a nation leading liberal values in the west, maintaining a multinational value system, and prioritizing territorial concerns and local ecologies. As such, it has incredible value on the global stage and The Site Magazine remains committed to providing both a domestic platform for addressing urban concerns and the built environment and the means for exporting these ideas globally.
The Site Magazine’s current editorial cycle (2016-2018) was initiated with its rebranding and will close with its 20th anniversary issue. The six volumes published within this editorial cycle focus on varied devices: the conceptual tools architects use to address societal issues at a range of scales. Volume 35 discussed borders as a device with a growing palette of built manifestations that divide and define populations at the global scale. Volume 36: Vernaculars developed a new lexicon for informal design responses at a territorial scale. The forthcoming volumes 37 and 38, Future Legacies and Feminisms, will confront the national and the urban scale respectively, celebrating the Canadian sesquicentennial by addressing the constructs of a national project (Future Legacies) and aligning feminist and urban discourse out of a concern for the vulnerability of marginalized communities and an overall interest in inclusivity (Feminisms).
The Site Magazine is actively collecting specific, localized, and unique community perspectives from across the country to pursue a national outlook on global issues that can be asserted within international discussions. The Site Magazine has maintained itself as an unbiased, independent forum for the breadth of work and ideas happening in Canada. It has upheld an editorial stance that prioritizes a curatorial approach over traditional editing, facilitating cohesive discussion, critical debate, and an inclusive celebration of the variety within the Canadian built environment. At its core, it is interested in language, leveraging rhetoric and narrative to increase the ability of the city and architecture to speak to its inhabitants.
To view our archive and order back-issues, please visit On Site Review.
The Site Magazine is the winner of the 2017 Canadian Magazine Awards Grands Prix for Best Art Direction of an Entire Issue. From the judges: “In its inaugural issue—exploring the concept of Borders—this publication provides a fascinating glimpse at painting the ordinary as extraordinary. It is filled with stunning photos, which add to the depth and colour of the stories presented—and to the imagination of its readers.”
FUTURE LEGACIES: CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
A self-taught photographer, Laurent Kronental has spent the past several years working on the series Souvenir d’un Futur, which focuses on the elderly inhabitants of the grands ensembles housing complexes on the outskirts of Paris. His work shines a light on an often overlooked generation, offering an alternative point of view on marginalized places where crumbling walls hold the memory of a modernist utopia. Laurent's photo essay became the inspiration for the visual identity of Volume 37: Future Legacies.
Michael Taylor (Commercial Director) is an architect and consultant in Zurich. He has studied at The Architectural Association, UBC, and The Queen's School of Business. His work focuses on strategy in business and design.
Carey van der Zalm (Creative Director) is an intern architect, graphic designer, and philanthropist. Her studies in Vancouver, Japan, California and Brazil have influenced her career and allowed her to take the lead in a number of architecture/design start-ups, in addition to designing and publishing several books and magazines.
Cristina Craiu (Designer) is an Intern Architect, AIBC, living and working in Vancouver, Canada. Her interest in design has lead her to contribute to a variety of projects ranging from architecture to exhibition and graphic design.
Matthew Neville (Contributing Editor) is a licensed professional planner in Canada, who writes and edits for architecture and urbanism publications, with a focus on academic editing for non-native English writers writing on big issues in big cities.
Amrit Phull (Contributing Editor) is an architectural designer and writer based in Toronto. Her previous work in Eastern James Bay Cree Territory informs her current research on empathic design and Indigenous place-making within Canadian urban centres.
John Sadar (Contributing Editor) has worked in private practice with various firms in Finland, Slovenia, Canada, and the United States, and is a co-founder of the interdisciplinary design studio little wonder.
Nicky Bruun-Meyer (Communications Director) is an architect, photographer, and writer based in Toronto. With a background in both Communications and Architecture, she has been involved in a number of design initiatives related to public space, the temporary nature of spaces, and community engagement.
Miriam Ho (Co-Editor in Chief) is a writer, editor, installation artist and architectural designer based in Toronto. She also writes fiction and narrative essays. She previously worked for internationally renowned architects Philip Beesley and Shigeru Ban.
Ruth Jones (Co-Editor in Chief) is a Toronto-based writer and editor. She holds a PhD in French and Francophone Studies from UCLA, with research focusing on literary subjectivity, perception, and urban space. Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Canadian Architect, and Quebec Studies.
Ania Molenda (Public Relations Manager) is an independent Rotterdam-based researcher and curator. She is a founder and editor-in-chief of Amateur Cities and a member of Rotterdam’s Culture Council 2017-2020. Ania publishes on architecture in various periodicals and academic journals.
Aisling O’Carroll (Co-Editor in Chief) is a landscape architect and architect, involved in practice, research, and teaching, currently based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Her work is currently focused on the relations between culture, landscape, infrastructure and ecology.