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2003 The Institute without Boundaries was founded by Bruce Mau Design. 2004 Massive Change, the book accompanying the touring exhibition of the same name, published. 2006 Launch of the World House project, which brought the IwB to Costa Rica and created can端home, a sustainable prototype home. 2009 Beginning of the City Systems project, which examines the underlying systems that make up the fabric of our cities. 2010 The IwB partners with the city of Lota, Chile.

VOLUME II Institute without Boundaries, Winter 2011


IMAGINANDO LOTA City Systems: Year Two

The IwB is a post-graduate program at George Brown College that brings together design thinkers from diverse backgrounds to work collaboratively to create economic, environmental and social innovation. Our current project, City Systems, explores the design of the built environment and examines the underlying systems that make up the fabric of our cities. This year, we’re collaborating with Lota, Chile, a former mining community that was devastated first by the mine’s closure in 1997 and again by an earthquake in February 2010. Working together with the people of Lota and industry partners, we will help identify opportunities to imagine, communicate and realize the city’s potential. Our project is called Imaginando Lota – in English, Imagining Lota. We spent two months doing research before we travelled to Lota in October, but no amount of preparation could have prepared us for what we found there. Lota is mysterious and friendly, static and vibrant, tragic and hopeful. Being in Lota inspired us and confirmed our commitment to helping to imagine a better future for the city. We hope we can now inspire others to contribute to the project.


Jamie Black Robert Giusti Graeme Kondruss Lauren Miles Miki Seltzer Payam Shalchian Richelle Sibolboro Sebastian Whyte Apostolo Zeno



Today, Lota’s population is approximately 50,000.

Lota’s market covers an area of 17 blocks. The market is open 24 hours a day.

Around 20 percent of Lota’s population is unemployed.

10,000 Lotinos are estimated to be living in temporary housing.


1,600 students study at El Centro de Formación Técnica Lota-Arauco, Lota’s only post-secondary institution.


The earthquake that struck Chile in February 2010 measured 8.8 on the moment magnitude scale.

The Parque de Lota botanical garden covers 14 hectares.

65 to 70 percent of Lota’s rainfall falls between May and August.

120,000 tourists visit Lota each year.


At least 521 Chileans were killed by February’s earthquake.


PEOPLE CHANGE PLACES Envisioning Sustainable Cities

The IwB is collaborating with the community of Lota and industry partners to help identify opportunities and realize the city’s potential. With the people of Lota, we are developing a revitalization plan that will address the physical, economic, social and emotional impact of recent events. Together we can ‌




At The Institute without Boundaries SEBASTIAN WHYTE A graduate of Ryerson University’s urban and regional planning program, Sebastian also spent a summer studying architecture at Parsons. While at Ryerson, Sebastian worked on projects with the city of Burlington and the Toronto waterfront Business Improvement Area. He said his experiences working on these projects were similar to the IwB because they taught him to deal with the public. After leaving the IwB, Sebastian said he wants to pursue a career that combines his varied interests. “My big interests are historical architecture, planning, cities, transportation and sustainability, so something that could touch on as many of those as possible.” Sebastian said he thinks one of the biggest challenges facing Lota is an inability to make plans into reality. “I would like to inspire the people to pursue whatever they wish to do, but to actually do it.”

Apostolo said he became interested in joining the IwB because of his diverse experiences and research interests. While studying at the University of Toronto, Apostolo did research with faculty members in the departments of sociology and architecture. He said this real-life experience got him interested in applying his knowledge to real-life situations. “I wanted to get some hands-on experience and I’m very interested in different disciplines; architecture, planning. But I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do.” Apostolo said he wants to focus on researching other cities to see how they can inform the Lota project as well as looking into issues of planning and zoning. “One of our goals is to work on a more efficient use of space, which can target areas like the market. I think it can help rid the area of a lot of issues like the garbage and vandalism,” he said, adding that he wants to help the people of Lota imagine their potential. “I think they have a great potential but they need someone to help them visualize it.”



Payam, a graduate of Carleton University’s industrial design program, became interested in interdisciplinary design after writing a paper on new methods in design education. Soon after, he attended a lecture by School of Design director Luigi Ferrara. “I saw the IwB as a good opportunity to take my education a bit further.”

Graeme Kondruss returned to George Brown College after completing a diploma in architectural technology. “I joined the IwB to expand my knowledge of the design process and to gain soft skills working in team environments and group settings,” he said.

Payam said he thinks the IwB moves beyond the classic frameworks of design. “It involves a lot more than I thought it would. I’m learning about so many other disciplines.” Payam said he wants to continue working on interdisciplinary design projects after leaving the IwB. “I’m a product designer by profession, but I would probably not want to do product design anymore.”



During the Lota project, Graeme said he wants to put his unique skills and experience to work. “I want to contribute to sustainable design utilizing my skills gained prior to joining the IwB as well as the ones I’ve gained being here.” After completing the program, Graeme said he’s deciding between working and continuing his studies. “The IwB setting has opened my eyes to the vast avenues the design industry has to offer.”




A U.S.-born, Israel-raised architect and designer, Miki Seltzer’s search for an interdisciplinary design program led her from Jerusalem to Toronto and the IwB.

The IwB represents a homecoming of sorts for Jamie, a native of the Ottawa Valley who spent the last five years working in Europe and the Middle East. “I decided to join the IwB because of the postgraduate education options that existed, I felt this program was dedicated to the best combinations of my interests and professional development goals.”

“What’s great about Canada is the multicultural mentality, the inclusive mentality. There are many ways to be. It’s something very valuable and significant that doesn’t exist in many other places.” Miki said her hope for the Lota project is that proposed solutions are realized. “It’s not as important to me what it would be, exactly; it’s more important to design something that has potential. There’s so many directions this project can go in,” she said. “There’s no one solution. It needs to be a web of little solutions.”

Jamie said he wants Lota to be more resilient in the face of rapid societal change, an unpredicatable economic situation and the risk of natural disaster. “I’d like the team’s solutions be designed to stand up to external influences in a resilient way.” While still interested in development, Jamie said in the future he’d like to explore forecasting and trend analysis in a multidisciplinary arena. “What I had envisioned for my career at the beginning of the year is now different.”

RICHELLE SIBOLBORO A Ryerson-trained interior designer, Richelle came to the IwB after several years exploring industries such as design, marketing, finance, merchandising and retail. “I think the major difference has been that in the other environments I’ve worked in, there’s been one person whose vision it was and it trickled through,” she said. “Here, we’re constantly checking in with each other.” Richelle said she’d like to look into designing a waterfront restaurant in Lota. “Lota needs to take advantage of its coast. One thing I like doing if I’m near a body of water is find a nice place to eat.” After the IwB, Richelle said she’d consider going into business for herself. “I’ve been thinking about taking the lead and potentially starting my own company and working with all types of media, like starting a production company where I can travel all around the world. The good thing about the IwB is that there’s a great network. Some of the people I’m working with are the people I’d want to be working with in the future.”


LAUREN MILES A Queen’s University alumna with a background in art history, political science and journalism, Lauren said she aims to approach the Lota project with an open mind and in a respectful way. “Joining this project, I was anxious to create proposals and strategies that are feasible and in touch with Lota’s needs. “I would like to see Lota with a diverse economy, although I know that we can’t give them an economy. As for something more tangible, I’m interested in cultural and historical institutions because I think they can contribute to a better quality of life.” Lauren said she’s looking forward to moving forward into detailed design work. “There are so many aspects of our project that I want to sink my teeth into.” As for her plans after finishing the program, Lauren said she doesn’t want to limit her career by focusing on one field. “I came to the IwB interested in museum and curatorial work. I’m still very interested in that, but I’m open to other fields of work as they arise.”




Rob came to the IwB after working as an architect on commercial and residential projects.

Designing a city-wide waste management strategy Promoting local business and employment Creating a tourism development strategy, including places to house visitors Developing identity and brand strategy Proposing ways temporary housing can transition to permanent housing Providing services such as infrastructure or social services to new neighbourhoods Devising an urban zoning plan Improving emergency preparedness and recovery programming

“I wanted to do something different, but I was also recommended to the IwB by one of my colleagues in the architectural field,” he said, adding that he was motivated to study at the IwB to improve his portfolio and network. Rob said he was also interested in learning more about the design process. “I wanted to explore different avenues of design because I had always been focused on architecture and construction.” Rob said his time at the IwB has reinforced the importance of presentation and communication skills. “From a networking perspective, it’s amazing, but I’m also gaining design competency to include awareness of how to take design from a conceptual phase to implementation.”

TO GET INVOLVED: Call the IwB hotline at 416 415 5000 ex. 8070 Or drop us an e-mail at Or visit

You can be a catalyst to inspire change. We’re looking for partners to help turn our proposals into reality. If you’d like to become a part of Imaginando Lota, we need assistance with design, business and development. We would also appreciate donations of supplies and services such as shipping, printing and construction materials.



Lota Magazine Vol.2  

A press kit created for the Interior Design Show 2011

Lota Magazine Vol.2  

A press kit created for the Interior Design Show 2011