Greg Whistance-Smith is a Registered Architect (AAA), designer, and scholar rooted in Edmonton, Canada.
My design practice aims to create generous spaces, objects, and experiences: ones that positively impact their communities and arise from a project’s unique context. Every work of design aims to reshape some situation out in the world, and instead of adding more clutter, I aim to uncover and celebrate the potential of what is already there. I believe that design has a key role in constructing a more egalitarian society, and “good design” should not be a luxury that only some get to enjoy.
My work is guided by a few core principles:
Context – uncover and celebrate the particularities of a situation
Craft – an attitude of care and attention to detail in all aspects of the project
Emptiness – designs rich in meaning that invite multiple interpretations
Pragmatism – getting the most value out of a project’s limited resources
The way I conceptualize and practice design has been strongly influenced by the work and writings of Alvar and Aino Aalto, Kenya Hara, and Rudolf Schindler, and by my time at Dalhousie University’s School of Architecture. I have also worked on industrial, graphic, UX/UI, and video game design projects, and my work is informed by approaches and techniques that I have learned from these diverse fields.
My scholarly work is concerned with how built environments impact their inhabitants, and how design often serves to mediate technology and culture. My book, Expressive Space: Embodying Meaning in Video Game Environments (De Gruyter 2022) explores how virtual spaces can be designed to communicate particular meanings to their players, using a set of theories from the emerging field of embodied cognition. Beyond scholarly publications, I have written for Canadian Architect, Spacing, and The Guardian.
I can be reached at gwhistancesmith [at] gmail [dot] com.