Karen Conty is a designer, educator and PhD student at the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism at Carleton University. Her research interests are at the intersections of poiesis, morphogenesis, and architectural imagination. Karen’s MArch thesis proposed knitting as a logical and topological model for architectural production. Parallel theoretical and physical studies considered the architectural translation of knitting as method, material and metaphor. Her current work focuses on the shift in representation—from genetic drawings to genetic algorithms—inherent in generative systems in architecture; systems that produce a wide variety of patterns, are integrated with their building materials and construction systems, interact with and respond to both designer and user, and adapt over time. The cognitive and corporeal operations and outcomes by which “genetic representations” are generated, grown and delivered are of particular interest.
Karen teaches Studios I and II and Graduate Seminar I: Introduction to Critical Thought to architecture students at Carleton University. She also teaches Design I and II in the Architectural Tech/Technology Program at Algonquin College. As a teaching assistant, her teaching responsibilities have included: Undergraduate and Graduate studios, Drawing, Architectural Technology, Graduate Seminar, and various courses in architectural theory and history: Conservation and Sustainability, Post Modern Architecture, Modern Housing, and Landscape Architecture.
As a research intern at Carleton Immersive Media Studio (CIMS), Karen worked on the development of a hybrid BIM/GIS model of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg (KZA) First Nation Reserve which integrates data relating to the community infrastructure, key buildings, geographic features, and areas of environmental sensitivity to assist the KZA Band Council in community planning, lifecycle management, environmental stewardship, and sustainability.
With her husband and business partner, Karen designs and builds carefully crafted, site specific residential additions and renovations that are the result of the close collaboration of client, design and building.
Karen was awarded the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada National Urban Design Award, Carleton University Medal in Architecture, and the AIA Henry Adams Medal. She holds a professional MArch (Carleton University) and a BSc in biology (University of Ottawa).