Design Matters

Get ready to be inspired.

Broaden Your Thinking

Design Matters is a thought-provoking lecture series presented by the School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape. Each year we brings to Calgary a range of important designers, innovators, and thought leaders  who are exploring the cutting edge of design and city building.

Lectures are delivered from September to April, and feature provocative speakers who examine issues in architecture, planning, and landscape architecture. The series challenges students, practicing professionals, and the public to broaden their thinking on a myriad of issues related to design and city building. Our pre-lecture reception is a great opportunity to meet and mingle with engage with other Calgarians who have a passion for design and the promise of building a great city.

2019/20 Design Matters Lecture Season

We're working on our speaker line up for the 2019/20 season. First lecture is with Chip Sullivan and Elizabeth Boults on September 12, 2019. Mark your calendars...more details to come!


We're always looking for energetic, intelligent people to activate events! 

We’re also looking for can-do types interested in working alongside helping student hosts John Baziuk (MArch’21) and Emily Kaing (MLA’21) with research for the inaugural 2019/20 Design Matters podcast season episodes.

Email to start the conversation.

A Dynamic Speaker Series

We seek out speakers from across North America and around the globe. We spark conversations about a variety of societal issues by engaging with innovative thinkers. We encourage people to recognize the important role that design plays in our daily lives. 

Past seasons:
Design Matters Lecture Series 2018/19
Design Matters Archive

Here are some featured Design Matters lecturers from past seasons:

Sir David Adjaye

April 2019

Sir David Adjaye

Sir Adjaye shared his creative process, as well as his professional and personal commitment to the social purpose of architecture and design of civic buildings that connect communities. Renowned for an eclectic material and colour palette, and a capacity to offer a rich civic experience, his buildings differ in form and style, yet are unified by their ability to generate new typologies and to reference a wide cultural discourse.

Martha Schwartz

November 2018

Martha Schwartz

Thank you to all of those who attended the lecture on November 29. As promised, here are links to her top three resource pages:




Sierra Bainbridge

January 2019

Sierra Bainbridge

Sierra Bainbridge, principal of MASS Design Group based in Boston, provided a lecture on "Architecture is never neutral; it either hurts or heals. How can we intentionally use architecture as a tool for healing?". Read about Sierra's lecture: Feb 5, 2019.

Anderson Anderson

September 2018

Anderson Anderson

Architecture in the Means of Production: Over the last 20-30 years, the practice of architecture has changed more fundamentally and more rapidly than at any time in the history of the world, with advances in technology revolutionizing the way we design buildings. What comes next, in the evolution of the architect?

Julie Larsen, APTUM

March 2019

Julie Larsen

Julie Larsen of APTUM and Syracuse University provided a lecture titled "Counterfactual Materiality: Using Computation, Fabrication, and Environment to Design Beyond Existing Materials". Read about the lecture in "Can a city afford bad architecture?".

Ma Yansong

April 2015

Ma Yansong

How can high-density development keep people connected to nature and social life? Ma Yansong, founder and principal of Beijing’s MAD Architects, is bringing nature and architecture together at an unprecedented scale. Read about Ma Yansong's lecture on April 30, 2015.


Design Matters is made possible through the partnership with generous sponsors who have shared aspirations. Sponsorship presents a wonderful opportunity for companies to not only heighten community profile, but also to engage with talented students who will be leaders and practitioners.

Looking forward to learning with you!