DIALOG Awards 2021 Michael Evamy Scholarship

Recipient Conrad Speckert will study impact of egress requirements on housing affordability


Conrad Speckert is the winner of this year’s Michael Evamy scholarship. Image courtesy of DIALOG.

DIALOG has selected its 2021 Michael Evamy Scholarship winner: Conrad Speckert, a McGill University student pursuing his master’s degree at the Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture.

Speckert was selected for the $5,000 scholarship to support his ongoing thesis research in the study of how Canada’s egress code requirements might affect the affordability of the nation’s housing supply.

“Our housing affordability crisis is exacerbated by the regulatory code requirement for two means of egress, which requires apartment buildings of three stories to have essentially the same two exit stairs as buildings of thirteen stories,” says Speckert. “I am grateful to have the support of DIALOG as I pursue this research in hopes of catalyzing valuable changes that can lead to more affordable housing in Canadian communities.”

Next spring, when Speckert completes his thesis, titled “The Second Egress: Development of a Building Code Change Request,” it will be submitted as a code change request to the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes.

“Regulations, such as those in Canada’s National Building Code (NBC), impact the design of our spaces and communities before a designer even reaches the drawing board,” says Ransey Leung, a DIALOG staff member and participant in this year’s scholarship selection committee. “Conrad Speckert’s proposal to challenge the validity of the two-egress requirement of the NBC initiates a novel and critical debate on the relevancy of the codes that govern our communities at a time when dominant paradigms need to be questioned.”

DIALOG established the scholarship in memory of Michael Evamy, a partner instrumental in building its integrated practice from 1966 to 1993. The award provides financial assistance to a Canadian student in a Canadian school of architecture in the year prior to their final year of study, to undertake research of interest to them and relevant to architectural practice. The next call for submissions will be in January 2022.