Greg Whistance-Smith, M.Arch, is a designer and scholar rooted in Edmonton.
My research is concerned with the relationship between design, technology, and culture, and how built environments serve to mediate these factors. I am about to complete an MA in Digital Humanities at the University of Alberta, and my thesis explored how videogame environments can be designed to communicate through the spatial experiences they afford. This project, and my M.Arch thesis exploring how public libraries can embody and communicate cultural values to their inhabitants, drew from the emerging field of embodied cognition. This area spans cognitive science, philosophy, psychology, and linguistics (among others), and it argues that cognition is grounded in a human body’s active engagement with the world, making it very relevant to design.
My design practice is driven by a desire to understand how spaces and objects can positively impact their inhabitants and users. I believe that design has a key role in constructing a more egalitarian society, and that good design shouldn’t be a luxury only affordable to some. The way I conceptualize and practice design has been strongly influenced by the work and writings of Alvar and Aino Aalto, Rudolf Schindler, Frank Chimero, and Kenya Hara.
Additionally, I’ve been involved in the independent videogames scene since 2007 as a hobbyist designer/developer. The expressive potential of this new medium is immense, and it shares a number of striking and under-appreciated parallels with architecture.
I can be reached at gwhistancesmith [at] gmail [dot] com.