Canadian Architect

Feature

State of the Schools

October 1, 2014
by Canadian Architect

University of British Columbia School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
Leslie Van Duzer, Director

The University of British Columbia School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA) benefits from being located in the Vancouver region, with its spectacularly beautiful environment and strong urban design legacy. It is therefore fitting that SALA now integrates the disciplines of architecture and landscape architecture in all the School’s programs: the undergraduate Environmental Design, the new Master of Urban Design, and the newly proposed dual MArch and MLA degree program. Students and faculty from the two disciplines regularly study and teach together, creating an unusual degree of knowledge exchange. The faculty have long had a strong interest in cities and in ecology, and the School now has the programs to adequately reflect their expertise. This year, SALA will select an architect for a new building, which will consolidate all the School’s programs under one roof for the first time.  

There are precious few funding sources for architectural research except in the building sciences. So, architecture faculty are joining colleagues in other disciplines with longer traditions of funded research and greater access to large funding sources, often changing their research focus in the process. The University’s drive to increase research revenue is changing the nature of design research.  

At SALA, faculty working in the building sciences and on large-scale urban design and planning projects have long been able to conduct research that subsidizes graduate students. As professional students have precious little time to work as research assistants, the faculty draws research students from SALA’s two post-professional programs. The School is currently developing strategies for making these programs more robust and discussing the possibility of a PhD program.

Succession planning is on our mind, with nearly half of the faculty over 60 years old. With the next wave of retirements, the School will lose some of its most productive faculty, but will gain new hires and opportunities to focus on new areas of research.   

I had three priorities during my first term as Director: to exploit the latent synergies between the Architecture and Landscape Architecture programs, to reconnect the school to the community, and to fund and build a new facility for the School on campus and an outreach facility downtown. In the years ahead, the School, located in a beautiful but remote outpost, needs to take its place on the global stage by developing strong ties to international networks, disseminating faculty research, and creating more opportunities for students to work and study overseas.

MArch 3.5 years—168 students (50 in 2013 class) | MASA 2 years—14 students (2 in 2013 class) | Full-Time Faculty 16 |   Part-Time Faculty 10 | Opportunities co-op/work placement, exchange, study abroad, travelling studios, student-led publication(s), cross-disciplinary collaborations | Areas of Focus building and environmental technologies, digital fabrication, ecological design, infrastructure, materials and construction, social justice and community design, urbanism, visualization and media | Affiliated Programs landscape architecture, environmental design, urban design | Alumni Peter Busby, Bing Thom, Bill Pechet

University of Calgary Faculty of Environmental Design
David Monteyne, Associate Dean of Architecture

We’re a little unusual being situated within a Faculty of Environmental Design, a legacy of progressive 1960s thinking about interdisciplinarity and the complexity of design problems across scales. We still retain unique courses on interdisciplinary environmental design and sustainability, and we continue to work on studio touchpoints with the Faculty’s Master of Planning and research programs.

Our senior year in the MArch program is driven by elective studios and theory courses, which are based on faculty research areas. While we have (somewhat controversially) eliminated the thesis year of our MArch, students interested in more in-depth research can stream into the Faculty’s research Master’s and complete it within a year. The University is pushing research hard, and has funded a lot of new faculty hires in recent years, including our new building science professor, who has an established research agenda in energy modelling.

Calgary is the fastest-growing city in Canada; there are jobs and other kinds of opportunities for architecture students here. There are big firms, there are lots of small startups, and a burgeoning design culture among consumers as well as institutions like the City of Calgary. The city and region are filled with our alumni who are keen to contribute to the school and to help out our students in many different ways, so I’d say we are quite practice-oriented compared to many schools.

When I talk to employers and others in professional practice, many of them tell me it’s all about attitude. We try to create a constructive atmosphere in the school where students are comfortable exploring ideas and interacting with mentors of all kinds. We hope it leads to a sense of boldness and entrepreneurship in tackling design problems. At the same time, we hope to make students comfortable with collaboration; that is, ready to work on interdisciplinary teams.

Right now the program is in really good shape, as we have a supportive upper administration that has put the University, and our Faculty, in a solid financial position. We don’t have the kind of politics and budget issues that often plague schools. We have had new hires in each of the last two years. So we’re really in a positive space these days.

We continue tweaking the program. Communications is a big focus—we feel we have a great program here, but we admit that hardly anyone outside the Prairie Provinces knows about us. We want both prospective employers and students to come and see what we have to offer.

MArch 2-3 years—130 students (50 in 2013 class) | Full-Time Faculty 13 | Part-Time Faculty 10 | Opportunities solar decathlon, study abroad, travelling studios, cross-disciplinary collaborations, distinguished guest instructors for one-week courses | Areas of Focus art and design, building and environmental technologies, digital design, digital fabrication, ecological design, energy modelling, history/theory/criticism, urbanism | Affiliated Programs environmental design, planning | Alumni Urs Kick, Trevor Boddy, Lynn Webster, Joanne McCallum, Chris Roberts

University of Manitoba Faculty of Architecture
Terri Fuglem, Acting Head, Department of Architecture

The architecture program at the University of Manitoba offers an intimate and warm atmosphere—in spite of (or perhaps because of) our notoriously cold climate. The region fosters a vibrant fine arts and music culture, as well as a burgeoning design culture.  

Many students who come to the University of Manitoba opt to remain here after graduation, as the regional economy is strong and opportunities for various types of practice are possible. Several alumni have opened offices here. Other graduates seek opportunities elsewhere in Canada and around the world with great success.

Our professoriate is highly energetic and caring. Their expertise ranges from self-forming structures, robotics and flood architecture to the relationship between the psyche and space. Faculty research is critical to all pedagogy in the Department. The ambition is that research will be understood by our graduates to be a c
ritical component of a good architectural practice. In many cases, studios are directly related to sponsored research, emergent practices or a faculty member’s theoretical position. A two-term system for themed studios allows for the deeper development of these research and creation agendas.

The flexibility of the studio selection process has allowed some students to remain with a faculty member for more than one year. In these cases, students gain expertise in the faculty member’s research field, contributing substantially to the faculty’s research work and often   mentoring younger students.

The location of the program in the heart of the Prairies puts us at the centre of the continent. However, we are relatively distant from other cities with architecture programs—Minneapolis, the closest, is an eight-hour drive away—and therefore must be self-reliant and resourceful.

Field trips abroad are critical to pedagogy; as well, field trips to local sites are treated with the same importance. Winnipeg and its region offer an array of unique conditions: cold climate, flooding in a low-lying agricultural plain, heritage architecture, and social and economic challenges at the urban and rural levels. Cultural influences from aboriginal populations, Winnipeg’s relationship with the North, the region’s historic French and Métis settlements, and successive waves of immigration afford a rich cultural complexity that informs our course offerings.

Recent studios have partnered with local community groups such as the Neeginan Centre, Crossing Communities and the Canadian Museum of Human Rights. One studio this term is investigating the effects of housing on the health of Northern aboriginal communities.

Manitoba is small enough that graduates who remain here have a strong impact on government, institutions, industry and enterprise. Even beyond the immediacy of traditional practice, our teaching and our values as a Department can have an effect within the community. There is a special opportunity for the development of small firms and practices that would have difficulty surviving in Canada’s larger cities. As a laboratory for exploration, Manitoba’s inventiveness is starting to be noticed in the country at large and abroad.

MArch 2 years—50 students (20 in 2013 class) | BEnvD Arch 2-4 years—300 students (110 in 2013 class) | Full-Time Faculty 10 | Part-Time Faculty 17 | Opportunities exchange, travelling studios, student-led publication, cross-disciplinary collaborations | Areas of Focus art and design, design/build, digital fabrication, freehand drawing and analog arts, history/theory/criticism, materials and construction, social justice and community design, urbanism | Affiliated Programs city planning, interior architecture, landscape architecture, planning and design | Alumni Harry Seidler, Richard Henriquez, John Patkau, Johanna Hurme, Sasa Radulovic

Laurentian University School of Architecture
Terrance Galvin, Founding Director

Our program takes a tri-cultural perspective, including Native studies and francophone voyageur culture. The curriculum includes elders-in-residence working with us. This coming year, we’re going to build birch-bark canoes, and then contrast that by building carbon-fibre canoes.

Our program also foregrounds Northern studies and Northern Ontario wood. I see the chance to develop linkages with the timber industry—through curriculum, co-op, and eventually research projects together.

Research arises out of our mandate to look at indigenous and traditional ways of building things, whether that thing is a wall, a canoe or a fence. Research starts with materials and fabrication processes, and leads to furniture and eventually to buildings. It’s an old Bauhaus idea: first they studied painting, materials and composition, and then ramped up to architecture. The things that we’re teaching—the studio work, the installation work—all of that is research that will become increasingly more complex, moving towards architecture, landscape and ecology.

The main value we hope to instill in our students is respect. Respect for diversity and other cultures. Respect for nature—not seeing ourselves as separate from it. Although architecture is an artifact and we make it, there are many good examples of architects who create a kind of symbiosis between the site and building. To nurture that sense of respect, a major part of our program involves design-build. We want students to understand that your body has an intuitive kind of knowledge.

There’s an integral mores in First Nations culture from which all of us can learn. When the University bought the building, they had a fire ceremony and the Whitefish people welcomed us. That’s about respect as well. We’re on somebody else’s land, and we acknowledge that.  

There’s a clear community vision about the Laurentian School of Architecture as a school for the North, that investigates and celebrates wood, that embraces the mining industry and tries to work with it, that makes a better design culture for Sudbury down the road. The challenge is to actually do those things. For instance, to say we’re going to teach in both English and French, operationally, is not easy.

Another big challenge is to present architecture as a real possibility for First Nations communities. Architecture’s not even on the horizon for many of them. They know about social work, health issues, law and justice for land rights. But to actually draw First Nations students here, year after year, that’s a huge challenge. We’re doing a lot of outreach beyond the curriculum to build that up over time.

We want to open the doors of architecture: it’s not just the star system and it’s not just thinking about urban centres. Canadian architecture needs at least one school where there’s another way of thinking about it. Sudbury, being in the margins, gives us huge leverage to truly experiment. What I bring to the table is an unpretentious, different way of working that values a complex, interrelated network of things. The star system, the ego, the individual architect—primarily male, white, not First Nations, not integrated with other cultures—that really has to be taken apart. This School is a chance to do it another way.

BAS 4 years—132 students of 280 expected (70 in 2013 class) | MArch 2 years—120 expected (note: programs pending CACB accreditation) | Full-Time Faculty 8 of 21 expected | Part-Time Faculty 2 | Opportunities co-op/work placement, exchange, cross-disciplinary collaborations, pre-architecture summer workshop, elders in residence | Areas of Focus building and environmental technologies, cross-cultural/international contexts, design/build, ecological design, history/theory/criticism, industry collaborations, social justice and community design | Affiliated Programs science, engineering, school of the environment

University of Waterloo School of Architecture
Ila Berman, O’Donovan Director

Waterloo is 100% co-op and is fully committed to the integration of architectural education with professional practice. Students alternate between academic semesters and those spent working in private design practices. Our students have gained invaluable experience at firms around the world, from OMA and Atelier Jean Nouvel, to Coop Himmelblau. Our global network is substantial and during any given year, our students are working in 40 to 50 different cities on five continents.

The co-op program reflects the School’s commitment to integrating research and practi
ce, as well as to enhancing architectural education through global opportunities. For over three decades, the School has run a satellite program on its Rome campus that exposes students first-hand to architectural history and contemporary Europe. Building upon this legacy, the School is expanding its global study initiatives through study-abroad electives in Europe, Asia and South America.

At Waterloo, research supplements and augments the design studio. Conversely, design itself acts as a synthetic form of research. The Master’s thesis, a core academic component of the program, simultaneously develops research, analytical and design skills, preparing students to make an active contribution to the field.

The Waterloo School of Architecture was founded in 1967, Canada’s centennial year, reflecting the spirit of ambition and optimism of this era. The School was part of a new university committed to educational and technological innovation in a community that prides itself on entrepreneurship and industry leadership. Waterloo has ranked for many years as Canada’s most innovative university. The surrounding region—known as the technology triangle—is home to more than 1,000 high-tech startups.

The School of Architecture has always been an incubator for innovation, and is embarking on plans for a new Integrated Design program that will operate at the nexus of industrial design, communication design, interaction design, and emerging digital design technologies. This program will directly address the need for creative designers in these fields and enable the school to more fully partner with the burgeoning high-tech sector in the region.

Most professional schools of architecture in Canada are relatively small in comparison to the larger faculties, such as engineering, of which they are often a part. It is costly to teach architecture, and this constitutes a challenge for many schools in a climate of diminishing resources, including Waterloo. It is incumbent upon us to apply our capacity for design innovation and critical thinking to the institutional models within which we operate, to transform them in creative ways: whether this means developing more robust institutional networks between and across schools, or industry partnerships that might enable new opportunities to emerge.

The School hopes to produce graduates that have a deep understanding of the larger culture within which architecture is situated, a passion for creativity and design, and the drive and curiosity to continuously expand the intellectual and technological boundaries of the discipline.

BAS 4 years/5 years including co-op terms—353 students (76 in 2013 class) | MArch 2 years—110 students (54 in 2013 class) | Full-Time Faculty 22 | Part-Time Faculty 55 | Opportunities solar decathlon, co-op/work placement, exchange, study abroad, travelling studios, student-led publication, cross-disiplinary collaborations, distance education, preparation for ExAC, student-run exhibition space | Areas of Focus art and design, building and environmental technologies, digital design, ecological design, history/theory/criticism, LEED, urbanism, visualization and media | Alumni Alison Brook, Brigitte Shim, Siamak Hariri, John Shnier, Stephen Teeple

University of Toronto, John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design
Richard M. Sommer, Dean

We are one of the few schools with a large stand-alone graduate program in architecture, where students with high academic standing from a variety of backgrounds may pursue a professional degree. The Daniels Faculty is an independent division within the University of Toronto, which is consistently ranked among the top research universities in the world. We have architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, and now, visual studies under the same roof, which allows for rich collaborations and crossover between like-minded disciplines.

While our professional graduate programs remain at the core of our mission, we are in the process of building a unique foundation in undergraduate teaching, using architecture, cities and the environment as a lens through which to pursue a broad liberal arts-based education. We are also establishing an intradisciplinary PhD program focusing on architecture, landscape, urban design and curatorial studies.

The reintegration of undergraduate teaching through the Honours BA in Architectural Studies and the transfer of Visual Studies to our Faculty has recently more than doubled our student population. This has led to the addition of several new faculty members as well as a renewal of variouis aspects of our curricula. The expansion of our programs has also occasioned the building of a new physical platform at One Spadina Crescent. The transformation now underway will create an unprecedented district at U of T for education, research and public outreach on architecture, urbanism and the visual arts.

Advancing architecture as both a discipline and professional art requires a heuristic model of research. We believe that the design of buildings provides an essential framework for educating architects. However, urbanization on a global scale also requires the architect to engage a diverse set of phenomena, such as those revealed by material and cultural history, environmental and programmatic analysis, building science, behavioural economics, urban/landscape morphology, parametric modelling, automated fabrication, and responsive digital media.

To that end, we have established a series of research platforms that build on the unique disciplinary methods associated with architecture, landscape architecture and urban design while also creating the circumstances for partnerships with cognate disciplines, industry, government, and various forms of community. These include the Green Roof Innovation Testing Laboratory, Responsive Architecture at Daniels, and the Global Cities Institute.

In 2015, we will celebrate the 125th anniversary of our architecture program. The history of the school—the oldest in Canada and one of the oldest in North America—is bound to the life and character of Toronto, a city that has recently witnessed a period of unprecedented growth.

Our hope is that after they leave the Faculty, our students will feel empowered to be entrepreneurial, take risks, and balance their chosen path as design professionals with a consciousness of their responsibility as citizens.

MArch 3.5 years—250 students (45 in 2013 class) | BArts (Arch Studies) 4 years—650 students (200 in 2013 class) | Full-Time Faculty 33 | Part-Time Faculty 63 | Opportunities co-op/work placement, study abroad, exchange programs, travelling studios, student-led publication, cross-disciplinary collaborations, pre-architecture summer workshop | Areas of Focus digital fabrication, ecological design, history/theory/criticism, industry collaborations, infrastructure, public health, urban design, visualization and media | Affiliated Programs landscape architecture, urban design, visual studies | Alumni Raymond Moriyama, Ken Greenberg, Donald Schmitt, Margaret Zeidler, Bruce Kuwabara

Ryerson University, Department of Architectural Science
Colin Ripley, Department Chair

We have a number of distinguishing characteristics. First, we are the only professional program in Canada that includes specializations in building science and project management. Our location could not be more intense. Ryerson is located close to Dundas Square in the heart of Toronto, which is rapidly emerging as a major world city. What better place for architecture students?

We are also the newest professional program, which means that we are evolving rapidly in tune with the ch
allenges facing our communities and the world today, just as our institution, Ryerson, is doing as a whole. We have all the opportunities that come with being an important part of one of Canada’s most rapidly developing and growing universities.

Ryerson was founded after the Second World War as a training college for returning veterans and spent the first 45 years of its existence as a technical college. We still have a very strong mandate to understand the technological grounds of architecture—and I think that in a world in which those grounds are rapidly shifting, that gives us a big advantage. Our graduates are still very highly skilled in the technical issues around architectural production.

In terms of the values we hope our students get from their education, the first point has to be that they are responsible for the future of the world—in a really real sense. We want them to be strong, motivated, responsible thinkers and doers, critical and productive citizens.

We think that research is really important, not just from an academic point of view, but as part of a robust practice. We are working to understand, as I think most schools are, the relationship between research and design. What are the forms of research that are particular to design practice? How are they best mobilized? How are students engaged in research?

I think that this is an amazing moment for Toronto, for Ryerson, and as a result, for the Department of Architectural Science. My vision is to open the Department up, to make it a major player in the transformation of the city that is taking place before our eyes. This is a place of immense excitement and constant activity. I want to expand that even further, connecting more strongly to our local and also international communities.

BArch Sci 4 years—400 students (124 in 2013 class) | MArch 2 years—55 students (30 in 2013 class) | Full-Time Faculty 28 | Part-Time Faculty 24 | Opportunities co-op/work placement, exchange, study abroad, travelling studios, student-led publication, cross-disciplinary collaborations | Areas of Focus building and environmental technologies, cross-cultural/international contexts, digital design, digital fabrication, energy modelling, industry collaborations, LEED, materials and construction | Affiliated Programs landscape architecture, urban design, visual studies | Alumni Harry Pellow, Greg Woods, Tania Bortolotto

Carleton University, Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism
Sheryl Boyle, Interim Director

The School’s culture of critical thinking through making, drawing and writing using both analog and digital tools gives Carleton its uniqueness. Our PhD students excel in these areas and provide invaluable feedback loops through teaching, research and mentorship to undergraduate and graduate students. At the undergraduate level, our choice of three majors—design, urbanism, or conservation and sustainability—is also unique in Canadian schools. Our one-year Graduate Diploma in Architectural Conservation provides an option for Master’s students and professionals to specialize.

Research must be a part of all three phases of architectural learning: university, internship and the profession. Carleton requires architecture students to ask critical questions and capture this in drawings, models, text and dialogue. Our graduate thesis includes access for students to research pods led by faculty, creating new publication and conference opportunities. Our research-based degrees, the MAS and PhD, specialize in the culture of practice—addressing areas of the profession including representation, digital craftsmanship, BIM, fabrication techniques, contract documents, urban design and conservation techniques.  

Situated in Ottawa, Carleton has access to Canada’s national institutions and research facilities as well as the convergence of English and French cultures. Our Forum Lecture Series is held at the National Gallery of Canada, creating dialogue between school and community. Our main campus building, designed by Carmen Corneil with Schoeler Heaton Harvo Menendez, continues to remain inspirational for faculty, students, staff and visitors. It is complemented by our Azrieli Pavilion, designed by alumnus Barry Hobin.

In the near future, architectural education may have to find a way to sustain its small student-to-teacher ratios and large studio spaces. Opportunities such as research-sponsored facilities and programs, professional linkages and building endowments are a large part of the solution. At Carleton, we are fortunate to have begun this process with significant endowments from alumnus David Azrieli and five founding Forum sponsors (IBI Group, Barry J.Hobin & Associates Architects, Merkley Supply Ltd., Trinity Developments, GRC Architects and Charlesfort Developments) as well as support from alumni Philippe Doyle and Louise Lalande for major renovations to studio spaces.

Over the past five years, we have focused on six distinct areas: excellence in pedagogy contributing to professional accreditation, digital media and fabrication, human resources, financial stability, national and international recognition, and enhancing research support for faculty.  The goal of these improvements is to continue to provide our students with the best possible environment, resources, faculty and staff to best support them in contributing back to the community upon graduation.

BAS 4 years—370 students (90 in 2013 class) | MArch 2-3.5 years—105 students (45 in 2013 class) | MAS 2 years—3 students (3 in 2013 class) | PhD 4 years—11 students (3 in 2013 class) | Full-Time Faculty 17 | Part-Time Faculty 28 | Opportunities solar decathlon, co-op/work placement, exchange, study abroad, travelling studios, student-led publication, cross-disciplinary collaborations, distance education | Areas of Focus building and environmental technologies, design/build, digital fabrication, freehand drawing and analog arts, historic preservation, history/theory/criticism, materials and construction, urbanism | Alumni David Azrieli, Barry Hobin, Jennifer Luce, Gregory Henriquez, Andre D’Elia

Université de Montréal École d’architecture
Anne Cormier, Director

Our School is profoundly marked by the legacy of people like Melvin Charney. Although our teaching has considerably transformed itself over the past 20 years, there is still a strong interest in the relationship between architecture and the city.
Part of our specificity is a long tradition of interest in heritage. We have a faculty program that deals specifically with heritage conservation, but much of the expertise comes from the School of Architecture.

We have two research chairs that are attached to School: the Research Chair on Built Heritage and the Research Chair on Competitions and Contemporary Practices in Architecture. Some of our professors are very active in both fields, which generates an interesting way of looking at what you can do with heritage buildings.

Research has gained a lot of importance in the School—it’s been a huge transformation in the last while. The place of research in design education is changing tremendously, affecting the way we teach and think about architecture. Students are often hired as research assistants; that gives them fresh insight. Also, a clearer distinction is emerging between the profession of architecture and the discipline of architecture. One doesn’t necessarily equal the other.

An ongoing challenge is the development of research—as an architecture school, we will never have access to the
kind of grants that, say, a pharmacy school might enjoy. At the same time, the importance of research presents an opportunity. How do you best take advantage of the research that’s being done? It’s been changing our way of teaching in a positive way, and we’ve been working hard to strengthen the links between research, teaching and practice. We are in the process of reforming our Master of Architecture program, and connecting research, teaching and practice is at the heart of this reform.

The fact that we are in a city where there is another school of architecture, as well as a school of design at the Université du Québec à Montréal—and that we’re in the same city as the Canadian Centre for Architecture and the Maison de l’architecture du Québec—makes quite an impact. It’s an amazingly rich context. You can easily go to three lectures a week, and there’s an abundance of very good exhibitions. There are a lot of good architecture firms located in Montreal, and professionals are very present in the School.

In terms of the values we hope to give our students, for me, it’s the pleasure of the work itself—you have to have pleasure contributing to architectural projects. There’s also a sense of ethics and responsibility: you are intervening in the public realm and people are going to work with what you produce on an everyday basis. It has to be pretty good.

Our School is on solid ground. I see an interest in the exploration of contemporary architecture with a very strong notion of materiality. We’re not a school where the digital will take over, although it will always be there. I think we’re moving towards gutsy realism. The younger generation of professors is interesting, diverse and ambitious, echoing the ambition of our students.

BSc Arch 3 years—258 students (101 in 2013 class) | MArch 1.5 years—131 students (72 in 2013 class) | Full-Time Faculty 18 | Part-Time Faculty 4 (plus over 60 adjuncts) | Opportunities exchange, study abroad, travelling studios, cross-disciplinary collaborations, disciplinary and cross-disciplinary charrettes | Areas of Focus ecological design, graphic communication, historic preservation, history/theory/criticism, materials and construction, resiliency/crisis, visualization and media | Affiliated Programs design, landscape, urbanism | Alumni Mario Saia, Claude Provencher, Anik Shooner, Annie Lebel, Maxime Frappier

McGill University School of Architecture
Annmarie Adams, Director

Ours is Canada’s second-oldest school, founded in 1896, and has witnessed revolutionary changes in architectural education. It began as a Beaux-Arts school with Arts and Crafts leanings, then transformed into a Bauhaus-based institution after WWII. Since the 1980s the School has become a powerhouse of architectural research, thanks to the growth of our post-professional programs.

Our School was among the first in North America to offer post-professional specialization in housing research, and our PhD program was the first in Canada. Today we offer three Master’s specializations that continue to attract students from around the world. The PhD program is extremely robust and larger than we ever imagined.

Design research and traditional academic research are at the core of our programs. Design instructors are carefully chosen for their ability to push the profession forward with new knowledge. Fortunately, we have a roster of adjunct professors who take a break from innovative practices to teach with us. It used to be enough for a professor to have an award-winning practice beyond his or her teaching position. Now, professors are expected to bring in external research funding. We have two research labs in the School—FARMM and LIPHE—both funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Our School sees Montreal as a classroom. We immerse students in Montreal architecture from the first day they arrive, whether they grew up nearby or come from halfway around the world. Architectural education makes students see the world differently, so being in a beautiful and functional city means seeing the city as a model of how to do things right. Montreal has been a mecca for architects, in particular since Expo 67. Architects want to work and live here because it’s a city that values design. For McGill, this means a rich and inspiring context of architectural firms and events. The School gives back to the city too, for example, in projects that involve students, professionals and decision-makers in real-world design exercises.

Our relatively small size gives the School an extraordinary atmosphere of familiarity and collegiality. Everyone knows everyone and students get lots of personal advising and attention as a result.

Given a chance to dream a little, my vision is to more fully integrate our post-professional and professional programs. A second area of importance to me is the role of women in the School and in the profession. Finally, I think we need to break out of the old-fashioned notion that a successful architecture graduate is one who registers and goes on to private practice. Architectural education prepares young people for dozens of careers: politics, health care, education, disaster relief, community work, planning and engineering could all be enriched by contributions of architects. The schools need to take a leadership position, and hopefully the processes of accreditation and professional registration will recognize a larger potential in every graduate.

BSc Arch 3 years, 170 students (50 in 2013 class) | MArch (professional) 1-2 years, 45 students (35 in 2013 class) | MArch (post-professional) 1 year, 20 students (15 in 2013 class) | PhD 7 years, 40 students (10 in 2013 class) | Full-Time Faculty 14 | Part-Time Faculty 24 | Opportunities exchange, study abroad, travelling studios, student-led publication | Areas of Focus art and design, cross-cultural/international contexts, digital design, digital fabrication, ecological design, freehand drawing/analog arts, history/theory/criticism, urbanism | Alumni Arthur Erickson, Raymond Moriyama, John Bland, Blanche Lemco van Ginkel, Moshe Safdie

Université Laval École d’architecture
Gianpiero Moretti, Director

The Laval School of Architecture includes programs in a variety of concentrations, from virtual architecture and digital fabrication to heritage and urban design. And the breadth of our programs outside of Quebec also distinguishes us. Seventy percent of students participate in exchanges with architecture schools abroad, either for a semester or a complete year. Over the past decade, the School has developed exchanges with universities in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Senegal, Spain and Vietnam. These programs allow students to approach architecture with diversified perspectives and refreshed know-how.

A majority of professors possess a doctorate, and are very active in research. Through their involvement in national and international research networks, they contribute to opening new horizons for architecture. The results of these research activities constantly percolate through their teaching. Early on, students come to understand the importance of research—both in practice and in the advancement of the discipline. The School’s programs offer the possibility of pairing a professional and research focus through a double Master’s degree (MArch + MSc).

The location of Laval’s School of Architecture in the heart of a World Heritage city makes for a compelling milieu. Its 350-year-old bui
lding, the Vieux-Séminaire de Québec, was the location of North America’s first francophone university. In this historical context, the School offers an environment that is almost entirely naturally ventilated and daylit.

Experiencing daily life in this rich environment gives students a broader perspective on the numerous challenges that the contemporary condition poses to architecture. From the 1980s on, the School has developed a particular focus on heritage issues. This expertise grounds an enriched knowledge of the environment and the particularities of intervening in complex sites. This perspective is extremely relevant today, with the environmental challenges that architects face.  

We aim to ready our students to become actors attuned to the dynamics of the profession and the aspirations of society. We prepare future architects to exercise their profession in a responsible manner, to bring forward pertinent and innovative responses to complex architectural problems, to judge ethically, to cultivate knowledge throughout their professional careers, and to respond in a creative way to the evolving needs of society.

I envisage continuing to open the School towards the global scene through exchanges. The strong link between our School and the professional milieu must also be maintained and reinforced. In a rapidly changing world, the School can actively and positively contribute to the evolution of the profession: as a privileged space for reflection and experimentation that integrates new ideas, the insights of research, and the potential of emerging technology. Architecture school should not only be present at the beginning of architects’ training, but may constitute an environment of cross-pollinating ideas and knowledge development that may nourish and enrich students throughout their professional lives.

BArch 3 years—256 students (102 in 2013 class) | MArch 2 years—140 students (67 in 2013 class)  | Full-Time Faculty 16 | Part-Time Faculty 3 | Opportunities solar decathlon, co-op/work placement, exchange, study abroad, travelling studios, student-led publication, cross-disciplinary collaborations, distance education | Areas of Focus building and environmental technologies, cross-cultural/international contexts, design/build, digital fabrication, ecological design, historic preservation, materials and construction, urban design | Affiliated Programs design, visual arts, regional planning | Alumni Pierre Thibault, Gilles Saucier, Éric Gauthier, Marie-Chantal Croft, Éric Pelletier

Dalhousie University School of Architecture
Diogo Burnay, Director

Dalhousie University School of Architecture has a distinct set of pursuits promoting a holistic approach to architectural education. We integrate architectural design studios with other courses, maintain close relationships with local and global communities, and emphasize the social and cultural dimensions of architecture.

Co-op terms have been integral to the School’s professional program since 1970. With the program’s longstanding 2+2+2 sequence (undergraduate + BEDS + MArch), incoming students bring diverse academic backgrounds from across Canada and abroad. Design-build free labs have also been part of the program for more than 20 years. Our location in downtown Halifax offers rich historical, urban and geographical settings for design studios and other courses. Our proximity to Europe also facilitates exchanges with partners and schools on other continents.

Architectural research plays a central role in how students pursue design in conjunction with other courses. Each term, they document their design process in a comprehensive portfolio. The School also encourages faculty members to bring their research work into graduate studios and courses. During their final year, MArch students carry out a self-initiated, well-rounded thesis that spans from conception and research to design development, technical studies, presentation and publication.

Changing cultures and economies, both local and global, are presenting challenges to teaching, learning, research and practice. We encourage students to understand the role of research and the need for fluency in various media and modes of production so that they can be prepared for unforeseeable futures.

With the growing emphasis on funded research, the School’s integrated approach to design and research is well placed for collaborations with other disciplines. The Faculty of Architecture and Planning, in conjunction with the university’s Faculty of Agriculture, is also developing a new Master of Landscape Architecture program that will encourage cross-disciplinary opportunities for both students and faculty.

As current Director, one of my aims is to advance the School’s longstanding ethos of “thinking with your hands” and “thinking while making.” We are more tightly integrating courses and design studios, developing students’ fluency in manual and digital media, and exploring how design and research are profoundly connected. Another aim is to support the diversity of faculty research and to devise innovative ways for students and faculty to work together. Above all, my aim is to promote the design process and elevate the quality of design work, so that it is relevant to society, the architectural profession, and the particular communities for which the work and the research are being done.

BEDS 2 years—130 students (65 in 2013 class) | MArch 2 years—80 students (40 in 2013 class) | MSc Arch 2 years—24 students (12 in 2013 class) | MSc Arch (Urban Design) 2 years—11 students (5 in 2013 class) | Full-Time Faculty 9 | Part-Time Faculty 8 | Opportunities co-op/work placement, exchange, travelling studios, student-led publication, cross-disciplinary collaborations in studio and in non-studio courses, undergraduate orientation workshops, pre-architecture summer workshop | Areas of Focus art and design, building and environmental technologies, cross-cultural/international contexts, design/build, ecological design, history/theory/criticism, social justice and community design, visualization and media | Affiliated Programs planning | Alumni Brian MacKay-Lyons, Barry Johns, Talbot Sweetapple, Susan Fitzgerald, Omar Gandhi



Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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