Jim Taggart FRAIC,
From the moment I received my first LEGO set at the age of seven, I wanted to become an architect. Beginning my studies at a progressive school in the United Kingdom, it quickly became apparent that architecture was more than simply the design and construction of buildings, but rather a process of understanding the needs of individuals and communities, and creating environments in which they could thrive.
On graduation, I moved to Canada and began working on Vancouver’s Expo ’86 World’s Fair, then later joined one of the city’s most talented and dynamic architectural firms. Three years in, and elevated to the position of Associate, I discovered I had an early onset strain of macular degeneration for which there was no known cure. As my central vision deteriorated, and no longer able to read text or drawings, I was forced to leave architectural practice.
After much hand-wringing and soul-searching, I applied my undiminished passion for architecture to the areas of education and communications.
Since then, I have built a new career: editing Sustainable Architecture and Building Magazine (www.sabmagazine.com); teaching in the Bachelor of Architectural Science program at the BC Institute of Technology; writing books on architecture; and delivering professional development seminars for architects throughout North America and around the world.
Much of this work has been directed toward expanding our definition of sustainability, from a narrow, quantitative one focusing on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, to a broader, qualitative one that reimagines our relationships with one another and with the natural environment that supports us all.
I believe that sustainability must embrace both political and economic reform and a renewed emphasis on social justice. To this end, my involvement with the Gateway Navigation project is a perfect fit. The technology we are investigating will make our built environment more accessible, and thereby MORE inclusive. I believe its potential extends beyond the blind and visually impaired community, to a multitude of others who need help navigating unfamiliar places and unfamiliar languages.
Please feel free to contact me.
Jim Taggart, FRAIC