If you didn’t get enough time at a convention filled with architects, don’t fret. Right on the heels of the AIA National Convention in New Orleans follows Canada’s version: the 2011 Festival of Architecture, kicking off in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday, May 24, and running through Friday, May 27.

Hosted by the Architectural Institute of British Columbia (AIBC) and Architecture Canada | Royal Architectural Institute of Canada partnership, the theme “Architecture on the Edge” aims to showcase Canadian architects pushing the limits of known design.

And, being held in Vancouver, the West Coast will get plenty of attention. “Front and center will be the style and innovation that distinguishes B.C. architects and architecture,” says the festival’s promotional material. “Participants will examine West Coast approaches to place- and space-making, and explore the unique perspective from Canada’s western edge.”

Pierre Gallant, AIBC president, says British Columbia’s “stunning landscape and unique climate allow us an ideal vantage point from which to explore new concepts in form and design, sustainability, livability and social awareness.”

Unlike in the U.S. where so many mini-cultures can influence architecture and culture, the concentration of Canada’s population limits the country to fewer culture-creating urban areas. And Vancouver certainly fits the bill as a leader in defining Canadian culture.

To highlight the 2011 Festival of Architecture, famed Vancouver architect Bing Thom offers the keynote address on Tuesday evening at the Vancouver Convention Center—in its own right a powerful, and recent, architectural and construction milestone.

Thom, a highly decorated Vancouver-based architect who won the 2010 Architectural Firm of the Year Award by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, has been busy with master plans in China, a new city center design in Surry, B.C., the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, a variety of other B.C.-related projects and, of course, the Arena State theater complex in Washington, D.C.

You can expect his address to cover his belief in a holistic approach to architecture and his desire to understand how a building works and gets constructed and how it fits in with the local urban fabric.

Along with Thom’s address, the festival plans plenty of discussions on how technology influences architecture and how architecture and the natural environment mesh together throughout a project. 

Organizers expect about 800 architects and other professionals from across Canada and hope the daily interactions between professionals will provide ideas to meet the “environmental and societal challenges.” For more information, visit www.aibc.ca/vancouver2011.