Susan Fitzgerald Architecture explores urban landscape as winner of the Professional Prix de Rome in Architecture

As the winner of the $50,000 Canada Council for the Arts Professional Prix de Rome in Architecture for 2011, Halifax firm Susan Fitzgerald Architecture will study the environmental, health and social benefits of integrating agriculture and innovative green spaces within towns and cities.

Susan Fitzgerald Architecture will use the prize funds to pursue their research project entitled “Productive Urban Landscape.” Availability and accessibility of food is a growing concern both internationally and locally. The research will explore the relationship between ecology, agriculture, architecture and landscape in urban centres. Travelling to Cuba, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Panama and Chile, they will gather first-hand knowledge and investigate this connection and how it can work more effectively for the benefit of the population in the future.   

Administered by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Professional Prix de Rome in Architecture recognizes excellent achievement in Canadian architectural practice. It is awarded to a young architectural firm that has completed its first buildings and demonstrated exceptional artistic potential. The prize allows the winners to travel to other parts of the world to hone their skills, develop their creative practice and strengthen their presence on the international scene. The project can involve multiple trips to a number of destinations, spread over a two-year period. 

“The 2011 Professional Prix de Rome in Architecture will give much-needed attention to the architectural implications of urban agriculture,” said Canada Council Director and CEO Robert Sirman. “The Canada Council has a deep commitment to creative practice, and we are excited by the imaginative way Susan Fitzgerald Architecture is approaching the field.”

Founded in 2006, Susan Fitzgerald Architecture is a design/build/research practice based in Halifax. Working closely with her contractor partner, Brainard Fitzgerald, Susan Fitzgerald considers alternative ways of living, working and engaging with the particularities of site and place.

The firm’s residential and commercial projects challenge ideas about density, programmatic diversity, zoning, and micro-architecture, in response to specific sites and landscapes. The work is characterized by an intimacy between design and the craft of construction, which influences not only their working process and the detailing, but the type of projects they pursue. 

Susan Fitzgerald Architecture has been the recipient of several Nova Scotia Lieutenant Governor’s Awards, including the Medal of Excellence. Their work has been exhibited and published in Twenty + Change 02 and 13.3% at WUHO in Los Angeles, California. Their method of creating architecture has been explored in a recent national exhibition entitled The Force is in the Mind: The Making of Architecture.

Originally from Stourbridge, England, Susan Fitzgerald is an architect (Nova Scotia Association of Architects) and interior designer (Interior Designers of Nova Scotia). She teaches design and professional practice at Dalhousie University in Halifax. In addition to being the founding partner of Susan Fitzgerald Architecture, she is also a partner with Halifax-based Fowler Bauld & Mitchell Ltd.

Susan received her Master of Architecture degree from Dalhousie University in 1999, and was awarded the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada medal upon graduation. She started her architectural career working for Arthur Erickson and Nick Milkovich Architects Inc. in Vancouver.

Susan Fitzgerald Architecture was selected by a peer assessment committee that included James K. M. Cheng (Vancouver), Richard Davignon (Calgary), Janna Levitt (Toronto), Robert Mellin (Montreal), and Gabriel Rousseau (Montreal).

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