Upcoming Events

Dec 1 2020 Online Learning /

TSA Technical Series: Towards an Architecture of Less Harm

12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Online via Zoom Webinar

$10 General, Free for TSA Members using the code found in the November 12 e-bulletin


Regenerative architecture goes far beyond reducing greenhouse gas emissions — it is about understanding our buildings as part of complex local and global ecosystems and designing strategies that support the continued habitability of our planet. If buildings fall on a spectrum of least (ie. camping) to greatest harm (ie. business as usual), how can designers establish an approach to explore and evaluate designs based on ever-reducing impacts, and ever increasing regenerative co-benefits? Can this approach also produce benefits in other areas, such as costs, which are typically pitted against sustainability goals?

Join us for this 1-hour webinar as architect Andy Thomson, principal of Thomson Architecture, shares a unique approach to design informed by the directive ‘First, Do No Harm’. 

With 20 years of research into minimalist buildings and lifestyles under his belt, Andy will distill an aggressive approach for buildings that meet or exceed Passivhaus requirements while significantly reducing the capital expenditure of conventional construction. In other words, “how can architecture be more like camping?”

During this lecture we will explore:

  • A brief history of building science (including lessons from the space program)
  • Miniaturization, Tiny Homes and CSA Trailers (OBC exempt) buildings
  • Ephemeralization – ‘lightweighting’ for reduced complexity and labour inputs
  • Strategies for form optimization and geometry improvement for cost mitigation and thermal strategy
  • Design strategies for balancing the competing challenges of airtightness and air quality
  • Case studies using building energy and carbon metrics to simplify comparative analysis

Some resources:

From the Thomson Architecture Blog,

About the Speaker

Andy Thomson is the director of Thomson Architecture, Inc., an international, collaborative architectural practice dedicated to advancing BIM to BEM workflows for architects. As VP Strategic of the Ontario Association of Architects, Andy chairs the Sustainable Built Environment (SBEC) and Policy Advocacy Coordination Team (PACT) committees, and has been the proponent of the OAA’s new TEUI Calculator with Cove.tools and was a technical adjudicator of the OAA’s Design Excellence Awards for 2020. Andy studied and practiced in Germany at the advent of the Passive House standard and the ‘Energiewende’, and has been cross-pollinating best practices in green architecture from North America to Europe and vice-versa. Andy runs his ‘ephemeral’ practice via satellite, from a zero-carbon, passive solar lodge on a 50 acre campground in the middle of nowhere.

This technical lecture is part of the Building, Technology, Science and Technology (B.E.S.T.) Series, a collaboration of the Toronto Society of Architects and the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design bringing affordable, timely and relevant knowledge, skills and tools to the profession as we work together to address the climate crisis.

TSA MEMBERS: This event is free for TSA members using the discount code found in our November 12 e-bulletin! Not a member yet? You can join here (and student memberships are free!).

OAA MEMBERS: When registering, please include your full name as registered with the OAA to ensure your certificate of participation is credited properly. Please also include an email address you check frequently to ensure you receive our certificate in a timely manner.

This lecture is possible thanks to the generous support of: