University of Calgary

Ottawa winter festival features enchanting public art by EVDS alumni

UToday HomeApril 8, 2013

By Jessica Wallace

EVDS’ Master of Architecture graduates Chris vander Hoek and Maria LandryEVDS’ Master of Architecture graduates Chris vander Hoek and Maria Landry earned a spot in the Ottawa outdoor gallery with their collaborative project, URban DiffUser.Designed to delight during the day and dazzle at night, this year’s IllumiNation Outdoor Light Art Gallery in Ottawa featured public art by Environmental Design alumni Chris vander Hoek and Maria Landry.

The annual IllumiNation Outdoor Light Art Gallery displays public works of art that provide a magical experience where the play of shadow, light and colour catches the eye and transforms the site.

The exhibition features seven interactive, whimsical and contemplative light artworks created by Canadian artists. A jury selected the work based on the spirit of Winterlude, Ottawa’s winter celebration held each February, and the medium of light.

Chris vander Hoek and Maria Landry, graduates from EVDS’ Master of Architecture (MArch) program, earned a spot in the outdoor light gallery for their collaborative project, URban DiffUser.

They were the only team from western Canada, and exhibited their piece for three weeks alongside teams from Ontario and the Maritimes.

The responsive LED lighting wall — an outdoor sound-reactive light installationThe responsive LED lighting wall — an outdoor sound-reactive light installation — was designed and fabricated for the 2013 Winterlude Festival.Their responsive LED lighting wall is an outdoor sound-reactive light installation, designed and fabricated specifically for the 2013 Winterlude Festival. To view images and video of the interactive Urban DiffUser wall, click here (

“We assembled our entire sculpture onsite, piece by piece. We transformed over 500 light panels into cylinders and stacked them methodically to create our wall of light,” says Landry. “Having previously collaborated on design projects, including studios in EVDS, we had a system to stay focused and motivated. Of course, this included good food and good music.”

Based in Calgary, Landry is an intern architect with a lifelong affinity for art and architecture, and a passion about art’s capacity to create social change. vander Hoek, an intern architect in Edmonton, has a strong interest in the urban context and impact of the projects, and designing and building at all scales.

Urban DiffUser was a collaborative project between Landry with and vander Hoek (

In April 2012, the duo, along with UBC student Eugene Dening, won first prize in the Alley of Light Competition in Edmonton for their recycled modular lighting system created from reused fluorescent light diffuser panels.


Follow UToday on Twitter.
Check the UToday website for news about events, people and trends at University of Calgary.
Follow what’s happening on campus using our interactive calendar.