50-year Legacy of Architect R. Stirling Ferguson

Architect Stirling Ferguson’s objective, at NRCC in 1967, was research-based building code requirements, as opposed to more-tradition-based rules.  In this presentation, surviving members of Stirling’s small, but influential, NRCC-based group reflect on his broad legacy of advocacy for a paradigm shift including greater use of social plus other sciences and technology. After five decades and 150 years of collective, worldwide, professional activity, the legacy includes significant changes to many model building codes and standards plus countless enhanced built-environments. Other legacies include the Canadian Public Health Association’s built-environment research and technology support program and the annually presented R. Stirling Ferguson Award. 

Session Details

Session ID: 
Thursday, May 25th, 2017: 2:00pm - 5:30pm
Venue : 

Session Speaker(s)


Consultant, Jake Pauls Consulting Services

Educated in Architecture and now a Certified Professional Ergonomist based in Toronto, Jake Pauls has 50 years of worldwide experience in research, codes and standards development, plus consulting connecting ergonomics, public health and standards for built environment design, usability and safety. For 8 of his 13 US-based, built-environment safety standards committee memberships, he formally represents the American Public Health Association.

James Chauvin, ULI

Independent Public Health Consultant & Advocate

James Chauvin’s advocacy for improved building codes began while the Canadian Public Health Association’s Policy Director. In September 2015, he was named to the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes, representing “the public’s interest”. He holds Masters degrees in Health Services Planning and Administration plus Medical Geography, becoming an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health/Royal Colleges of Physicians (UK) in 2014.

Donald Henning

After graduating in architecture from UBC he was a Research Officer at the National Research Council. His focus was use issues relating to the National Building Code including barrier-free design and use of washroom facilities.

Steve Gwynne

Research Office, National Research Council of Canada

Currently, a researcher at NRCC, examining building fire safety and aviation passenger safety, Steve Gwynne has worked in evacuation/ pedestrian dynamics for 20 years, in academia, consultancy and government in UK, US and Canada. He has worked in aviation, maritime, rail and the built environments, looking at safety, security, and circulation.

John Bell

John Bell was born in Toronto where he received his primary education. He spent his high school years in Montreal followed by four years at Queen’s University in Kingston completing an Honors BA Politics and Economics.

John Bell’s full career was with the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). It began in 1961 when he joined Royal Canadian Sea Cadets in RCSCC BONAVENTURE in Cartierville, Quebec. After four years in Cadets he joined the RCNR as an Able Seaman and then a year later the RCN as an Officer Cadet at Queen’s University. Commissioned as A Sub Lieutenant in 1970 he retired as a Commander in 2003 after serving in eleven different ships and on sea going and shore based staffs in Halifax, Esquimalt, the United Kingdom and finally Ottawa. His final appointment was as the Senior Naval Officer on the Directorate of Cadets Staff.

John is a past member of the boards for the Navy League of Canada and the Ottawa Branch of the Naval Association of Canada and is currently Vice Chairman of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Education Foundation and on the board of Ottawa Alternative Trade, which operates a Ten Thousand Villages store in Ottawa. John and his wife of 42 years, Janet (nee Ferguson) live in Ottawa. They have three children who now have families of their own.

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24-27 May 2017
Ottawa, Ontario

About Us

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and the Ontario Association of Architects have partnered to present the 2017 Festival of Architecture May 24-27, 2017 in Ottawa.

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For general information, please contact us at:

  • festival@raic.org 
  • 1-844-856-RAIC ext 200
  • 613-241-3600
  • 330-55 Murray Street, Ottawa, ON K1N 5M3