“Architecture is a living force,” says Michael Fieldman, BSc’59, BArch’63, FAIA, who has devoted his career to designing “spaces with meaning.” Principal of Michael Fieldman Architects since 1970, he credits the quality of his McGill education for launching him on his successful career. “McGill taught us the difference between ‘a building’ and architecture. The fact that I’m an architect is due to McGill.”
A generous supporter since 1965, Fieldman has recently established the Michael M. Fieldman Studio Enhancement Fund. “One of the benefits of being an architect is that you are exposed to more aspects of life. It’s a much more all-encompassing profession,” Fieldman says. “I want to give architecture students the gift of travel, and help them have the opportunities that I’ve had.” One such opportunity was a Canada Council grant which Fieldman was awarded in 1963 to study in Europe for 14 months, a formative experience which solidified his education and career path.
Fieldman’s gift provides the School of Architecture with new funds for educational enhancements, such as hosting leading critics and organizing field trips to major cities to study architecture first-hand. “It’s a core aspect of our students’ education,” says Prof. Michael Jemtrud, MArch’00, and director of the school. “To study architecture, you have to see it and you need to walk through it.”
To date, Jemtrud and his students have visited Manhattan, Boston and Philadelphia courtesy of Fieldman’s gift. The first of its kind, the fund is intended to set an example for others to support McGill’s architecture students – a select group with the highest entering GPAs in the country.
Fieldman grew up in Montreal and began his career there. In 1973, he won his first commission in New York. After several years of daily commutes between Montreal and Manhattan, he decided to take the plunge. “It was a big risk to move to New York, but the opportunities were simply too great!”
Clearly, Fieldman has a sixth sense for opportunities. Thanks to his latest generous gift, more young architects will be able to follow in his footsteps and pursue their own opportunities.