George Baird

Professor Emeritus

BArch (Toronto), AM (Harvard)

George Baird is the former Dean (2004-2009) of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, and is a partner in the Toronto-based architecture and urban design firm Baird Sampson Neuert Architects. Prior to becoming Dean at the University of Toronto, Baird was the G. Ware Travelstead Professor of Architecture at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University. He has published and lectured widely throughout most parts of the world.

He is co-editor (with Charles Jencks) of Meaning in Architecture (1969), and (with Mark Lewis) of Queues Rendezvous, Riots (1995). He is author of Alvar Aalto (1969) and The Space of Appearance (1995). Most recently, his researches in architectural theory have focused on the question of the political and social status of urban public space, and on debates revolving around subject of “critical architecture”. In this regard, his much discussed essay: “Criticality and Its Discontents” was published in the Harvard Design Magazine in Fall 2004, and his subsequent text: “The Criticality Debate: Some Further Thoughts” appeared in September in T/A Magazine, Shanghai.

Baird’s consulting firm, Baird Sampson Neuert is the winner of numerous design awards, including Canadian Architect Magazine awards over many years, and Governor General’s Awards for Cloud Gardens Park in 1994 and Erindale Hall on the campus of the University of Toronto at Mississauga in 2006. Baird is a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. He has been the recipient of the Toronto Arts Foundation’s Architecture and Design Award (1992) and the da Vinci Medal of the Ontario Association of Architects (2000).

Curriculum Vitae [PDF]


Meaning in Architecture
Meaning in Architecture is one of the first publications in English to introduce what we now know as “architectural theory” to professional and academic audiences in architecture.
Co-edited by Baird and Charles Jencks, it was published in Britain and in the United States in 1969.
Baird’s own contribution to the anthology is “’La Dimension Amoureuse’ in Architecture, and it has been republished in a pairing with Manfredo Tafuri’s “Towards a Critique of Architectural Ideology” in K. Michael Hays 1998 anthology “Architecture Theory Since 1968”.

Alvar Aalto
The short text Baird prepared for this monograph illustrated by photographs of Yukio Futagawa was one of the earliest ones to interpret Aalto’s oeuvre in a phenomenological perspective. It was published in 1970.

Vacant Lottery: Design Quarterly No: 108
Vacant Lottery is a special issue of the Design Quarterly published by the Walker Art Centre in Minneapolis, and edited by Mildred S. Friedman. The issue was guest-edited by Baird together with Barton Myers.
It includes the seminal text of Baird “Vacant Lots in Toronto” which introduced the precepts of “urban morphology” and “building typology” from European Rationalist urban theory, into North America, and illustrated them in an analysis of a historic precinct of downtown Toronto.
Vacant Lottery was published in 1980.

Queues, Rendezvous, Riots
Queues, Rendezvous, Riots is a catalogue of an exhibition held at the Walter Phillips Gallery at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Banff, Alberta. The exhibition included installations by, among others, artists Martha Fleming and Lynn Lapointe, Vera Frenkel, Dan Graham, Jeff Wall, and architects Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, and Rodolfo Machado and Jorge Silvetti.
The exhibition was held in 1992 and the catalogue was published in 1994.

The Space of Appearance
The Space of Appearance is a phrase taken from Hannah Arendt’s magisterial text: The Human Condition. This text of Baird is his major effort to frame a history of key debates in architectural and urban theory during the twentieth century, within the political theory of Arendt.
The Space of Appearance was published in 1995.