Project Description

The “Architectural Design” issue.  The main editorial feature in this issue focuses on the impact that UCalgary alumni have had on making Calgary one of the most livable cities the world.

The main feature is intended to shine a light on the brilliant alumni that have graduated from the university’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape. Rather than simply turning this into an Architectural essay (static photos of beautiful buildings), I wanted to go the extra mile and actually get the designers within the spaces they created. I also worked closely with the photographer on the day of each photoshoot to capture people actually using the space. This served to make each story more relevant, personable and alive.

I went over my concepts and comp layout sketches with the chosen photographer and worked with them on all five photoshoot sessions. My personal favourite is the Wednesday Room. It is a very dark, tight and moody space that just oozes a comfortable “speakeasy” vibe. The logistics to capture this mood were quite challenging: on a -25C morning before the bar opened, we were given 30 minutes to set up in the basement before the two models (McKinley and Burkhart) showed up. They gave us 30 minutes to shoot them before they got up and told us they had to go to a pitch meeting (they are very busy… that happens when you’re good at what you do…).

We set these two gents up as if they were the sole patrons relaxing together and enjoying their surroundings. We rearranged and lined up the chairs and candles for the perfect camera angle. I added the touch of some yellow dye to the ice water in the tumblers. With no room to second-guess or shoot for further options, the final image is just outstanding. Huge thanks to Roth and Ramberg Photography for their talents on this one, as well as every other shoot they do.

The other session I really enjoyed was the intro layout. Great story there too: the department has all these building models scattered across four floors. I did some pre-scouting and picked the pieces I wanted for the scene. We arrived two hours before our model (the faculty head) showed up. We set up the scene in the public student gallery space. This meant moving those delicate models (up to 20 kg each) and arranging them on a table array for our model to sit behind. We worked with the existing studio wall lighting because it looked so nice already. The faculty head is also another one of those busy types who is hard to nail down. He actually agreed to book 90 minutes with us a week prior, only to show up on the day with his EA in tow, telling us that he could only give us a half-hour because he had to attend another meeting which he just couldn’t miss. Good thing we had the scene set so all he had to do was step in and look good. Special thanks to our video guy, Steve Chin, for some great ideas and all the bts footage on the day of the photoshoot.

While the previous two stories might suggest that I thrive under pressure, I believe in being as prepared as possible so that little hitches and bumps don’t get in the way of me achieving my creative vision. Planning, planning and more planning. That’s the ticket.

Oh, and have a good idea to begin with.

And since I had some time leftover, here’s a couple of BTS videos I produced from two of the photoshoots:

The second feature (Protecting the Vulnerable), was not designed by me, but it did give me an opportunity to work with an illustrator whose work I have long-admired. Jasu Hu, from New York City, was so professional. Her ability to take our initial story and creative brief gave me the confidence to let her run. She delivered a visual story that augments the written one so seamlessly that the design layout was developed in such a way to become the frame for her work. Well done.

All-in-all, this 52-page print piece is great to hold and flip through.

For the online version, I was once-again paired up with a talented web developer (Nicola is awesome!), and we ported the content to this website within 3 weeks (sitemap, content map and page builds). Same platform as before, so no great shake-up or advancement there. We are trying to get the editorial process more aligned to an “online-first, rich-media” approach, followed by print, but it’s a slow evolution.

Read the online version 

Following this issue release, I received a letter of commendation from President Ed McCauley listing the many awards I have earned while furthering UCalgary’s reputation of excellence and innovation.

Read it here →, if you want to.