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2003-2004

a) Special events

  • In October 2003, the School and the Canadian Architecture Collection co-hosted a special symposium, Architecture for a Common Cause, during Homecoming Weekend. The event examined the teaching and architectural legacy of Professor John Bland, whose career at McGill spanned more 60 years. A number of well-known graduates participated in presentations and panel discussions, including Moshe Safdie, BArch’61, who designed the addition to one of Bland’s most important architectural achievements, the former Ottawa City Hall, and Bruce Lorimer, BArch’68, Director General, Architectural and Engineering Services at Public Works and Government Services Canada, who coordinated the re-purposing of the building after the recent city merger in Ottawa. Other McGill alumni who attended the event were Anne-Marie Broudehoux, MArch’94, Julia Gersovitz, BArch’75, and Harry Mayerovitch, BArch’33. The symposium was the initiative of Irena Murray, PhD’03, Curator of the John Bland Canadian Architecture Collection and Chief Curator of the Rare Books and Special Collections Division of the McGill libraries.
  • In February, 2004, the School was an active member of the steering committee of the ninth Annual Conference of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada - Challenging Cities in Canada. The conference featured approximately 45 guest speakers representing a variety of disciplines and attracted over 400 participants from across Canada to a three-day event examining the range of urban issues challenging Canadian cities. Design professionals and students participated in two charrettes during the Conference; one addressed the Quartier des Spectacles, the area around Place des Arts, and the other, animated by architect/planner Aurèle Cardinal, BArch’70, examined the Peel Street Corridor, a major ‘north-south’ street that connects the Lachine Canal and Mount Royal in downtown Montreal.. The Chair of the Conference was Dr. Antonia Maioni, Director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, and Professors David Brown (Urban Planning) and David Covo (Architecture) served as facilitators/hosts.

b) Exhibitions

Exhibitions form an integral part of the School’s strategy to frame a social and professional context for studies in architecture. The list below identifies public exhibitions that include the work of staff and students of the School, distinguished practitioners, and artists whose work attempts to develop links with architectural and urban issues. Exhibitions held this year included:

  • Tilting: An exhibit of the book by Robert Mellin
    September 15 to October 3, 2003
    Tilting: House Launching, Slide Hauling, Potato Trenching, and Other Tales from a Newfoundland Fishing Village (Princeton Architectural Press, 2003), Robert Mellin. An exhibit of photographs and original drawings.
  • Architecture in Colombia: Seven Medellin Architects
    October 6 to 18, 2003
    Includes the work of the last decade of a group of Colombian architects whose main field of operations is Medellin.
  • Greece: Summer Course Abroad 2003
    October 20 to November 7, 2003
    An exhibition of student work.
  • Yolles: A Canadian Engineering Legacy
    November 11 to 29, 2003
    40 original engineering design drawings by Roland Bergmann + 20 photographs of completed buildings by Yolles Engineering.
  • M2 Final Thesis Projects
    December 3 to 12, 2003
    Master of Architecture program final thesis projects (M2 - Architectural Design 2).
  • Texture City
    February 9 to 20, 2004
    An interactive installation by Marc Boutin, 2003 Prix de Rome winner, dealing with the temporary infrastructure of the public realm.
  • Sketching School 2003
    March 1 to 12, 2004
    An exhibition of student work from Sketching School 2003 in Saint John, New Brunswick
  • Toward an Architecture of Conscience
    March 15 to April 2, 2004
    The work of Sandy Hirshen, Architect, his partners and professional colleagues.
  • Design Research & Methodology
    April 6 to 16, 2004
    The work of the M1 class from the Winter 2004 term.
  • Studio 2003-2004
    May 3 to June 11, 2004
    Highlights of student work from the studios of Fall 2003 and Winter 2004.
  • Nomadism and the City
    June 16 to September 16, 2004
    An exhibition of History and Theory graduate studio work 2003-04.

c) Lecture Series

Lectures by visitors continue to provide an important point of contact for students with academics and practitioners. The most important of these is our regular Fall and Winter evening program, which was coordinated by Professor Martin Bressani and a team of active and committed students. Fall 2003 speakers included:

  • Steven Holl (21 October 2003) Inaugural David J. Azrieli Lecture in Architecture
    Compression
  • Steve Badanes (4 November 2003)
    The Architect as Artisan & World Citizen
  • Brian MacKay-Lyons (11 November 2003) William Hobart Molson Lecture
    Plain Modern
  • Derek Sayer (17 November 2003)
    The Canons of Erasure: Mies, MoMA and Corbu in Prague
  • Andy Bergmann (25 November 2003) Steel Structures Education Foundation Lecture
    Yolles: A Canadian Engineering Legacy

The Winter Series included a special speakers program organized in conjunction with Laval University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and celebrating architecture and landscape architecture in Switzerland; four celebrated Swiss architects spoke at McGill, with the support of a number of sponsors, including Swiss Airlines and the Consulate General of Switzerland. The Winter 2004 series included:

  • Luc Plamondon and Gabriel Pinkstone - Cirque du Soleil (3 February 2004)
    Architecture et Scénographie: une relation à développer
  • Günther Vogt (12 February 2004) Architecture in Switzerland series
    Recent Work
  • Louis Martin (17 February 2004)
    Eisenman in the 1960s
  • Marcel Meili (11 March 2004) Architecture in Switzerland series
    Recent Work
  • Valerio Olgiati (25 March 2004) Architecture in Switzerland series
    Recent Work
  • Louisa Hutton (29 March 2004) Sheila Baillie Lecture
    Recent Work
  • Werner Oechslin (8 April 2004) Architecture in Switzerland series
    Swissness: Mythical, Regular and Architectural

Four additional lectures, a continuation of the Architectural Students’ Association’s very successful lunchtime Brownbag Lectures, were presented by prominent Montreal architects in March, 2004.

  • Clément Demers (2 March 2004)
    Quartier International
  • Anne Cormier (9 March 2004)
    Atelier Big City
  • Vladimir Topouzanov (16 March 2004)
    Saia Barbarese Topouzanov Architectes
  • Michel Dallaire (23 March 2004)
    Michel Dallaire Designers

The School of Urban Planning incorporated a series of guest lectures within the course Urban Planning II, open top all: Urban Design & Project Feasibility.

  • Ron Rayside (13 February 2004)
    The Financial Logic of a Community Project
  • Mark Poddubiuk (5 March 2004)
    New Housing on Benny Farm
  • Julia Gersovitz, Aurèle Cardinal & Guy Chadillon (26 March 2004)
    Two Condominium Projects: 1638 and 333 Sherbrooke Street
  • Jonathan Sigler (2 April 2004)
    What Makes or Breaks a Project?

The third year design studio (Sheppard/Theodore) incorporated a lecture series on tall building: Building Up the City: A Skyscraper for Montreal

  • Renée Daoust (25 September 2003)
    Planning Principles of the Office Tower: Le Centre CDP Capital (Caisse de dépôt)
  • Pierre Grenier (6 October 2003)
    Elevators in the High-Rise Building
  • Claude Pasquin (16 October 2003)
    Structure of the High-Rise Building
  • André Dupras (20 October 2003)
    Mechanical Systems of the High-Rise Building

The School continues to host the lecture series “Mardis verts” (Green Tuesdays), which is sponsored by Public Works and Government Services Canada and a number of building product manufacturers and suppliers, and organized by the Order of Architects of Quebec Committee on Environment and Architecture. The OAQ presented 3 lectures in fall '03 and 4 in winter '04.

  • Christopher Holmes (30 September 2003)
    The Challenges of Realizing the Urban Green Ideal: A Developer's Experience with Compromise
  • Guy Favreau and Philippe Bertrand (21 October 2003)
    Post-incubateur en biotechnologie au technopôle Angus
  • Vouli Mamfredis, Lyse M. Tremblay, Andrew Todd, Roland Charneux (18 November 2003)
    Mountain Equipment Co-op, le magasin le plus vert au Québec et premier certifié C2000
  • Pierre Gastaldy (17 February 2004)
    L'école secondaire du Tournant, une approche éducative écologique
  • Paul Tétreault, Régis Côté and Jocelyn Boilard (16 March 2004)
    Les lauréats des prix d'excellence en développement durable de l'OAQ: Bibliothèque de l'Université Cheikh Anta Diop & École de foresterie et de technologie du bois de Duchesnay
  • Simon Lafrance (20 April 2004)
    La gestion des déchets sur les chantiers de construction: Études de cas concrets au Québec
  • Jacky Deschênes and Marie-Anne Boivin (18 May 2004)
    Des fleurs sur nos toits...Plus de 20 toitures végétalisées réalisées par Jacky Deschênes, architecte

d) Fundraising and alumni donations

  • Last year, the Class of 1977, under the joint leadership of Carole Scheffer and Alan Orton, pledged a class gift of $50,000 to the School of Architecture. In 2004, the Class of 1979, under the leadership of Ian Macburnie, pledged an additional gift of $20,000. These donations complement and stimulate annual giving by graduates and friends to the School, which continues to grow every year.
  • A recent and very generous gift by Montreal-based developer David Azrieli brings to a total of four our permanently funded public lectures in architecture; it complements the Sheila Baillie Hatch Lecture, which was inaugurated in the spring of 2002, the Structural Steel Educational Fund Lecture, which is part of a program developed by Professor Loraine Dearstyne-Fowlow of the University of Calgary, and the William Hobart Molson Lecture in Architecture, which was endowed by graduate David Molson and inaugurated in the fall of 2002. The inaugural David Azrieli Lecture in Architecture brought distinguished architect Steven Holl to McGill in the fall of 2003.
    • New endowed lecture: The David Azrieli Lecture in Architecture. Established in 2003 with a gift from the David J. Azrieli Foundation, The David J. Azrieli Lecture in Architecture is an annual public lecture by an internationally acclaimed architect. The event will be managed and hosted by the School of Architecture of McGill University.
  • Gifts by alumni and friends of the School continue to support award and scholarship programs that celebrate achievement by both students and staff. Three new awards were established this year:
    • Sheila Baillie Hatch Prize: Established in 2004 with a gift from Heather Munroe-Blum and Leonard Solomon-Blum, and additional funding from the University and the School of Architecture, the Sheila Baillie Hatch Prize is awarded by the Director of the School of Architecture to a student completing the first year of the undergraduate program in recognition of a special contribution to the academic or non-academic life of the School. Minimum value: $500.00.
    • The Derek Drummond Award in Architecture: Established in 2004 by Professor Derek Drummond’s friends and colleagues, the McGill Alumni Association, and the University, in recognition of his service to the University as Vice-Principal (Development and Alumni Relations), 1996-2003, the Derek Drummond Award in Architecture is awarded by the Director of the School of Architecture to a student in the professional program who has made an outstanding contribution to extracurricular activities in the School of Architecture. Minimum value: $2500.00.
    • Gerald Sheff Award for Teaching: Established in 2004 with a gift from Heather Munroe-Blum and Leonard Solomon-Blum, and additional funding from the University and the School of Architecture, the Gerald Sheff Award for Teaching recognizes outstanding teaching by part-time faculty in the School of Architecture. All part-time faculty are eligible for the award, which includes a travel grant of $500.
  • This year’s meeting of the Faculty of Engineering Advisory Board addressed the issues of fund-raising and revenue generation.

f) Student travel

  • Ten students participated in the 2004 Shaver Traveling Scholarship, which was held in Tuscany in May 2004, under the direction of Adjunct Professor Nadia Meratla.
  • 15 students participated in the 2004 Summer Course Abroad in Italy, under the direction of Professors Adams and Zuk.
  • 7 McGill students participated in a May 2004 Workshop on Architectural Conservation, held in Mexico City and Oaxaca, under the direction of Professor David Covo and colleagues from Virginia Tech, University of Florida, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and Tec de Monterrey (Querétaro). The McGill group joined a group of 17 other students from the same universities on an intensive ten-day field course examining the conservation of pre-Columbian and colonial architecture in Mexico. The exercise was funded under the North American Mobility in Education Program.

g) Student governance and participation

The Architecture Students’ Association (ASA) remains extremely active in the School and in the university community. The ASA Council and other student volunteers contribute enormously to the academic and social life of the School. Their enthusiastic participation in the Annual Phonathon, Open House, Orientation, Reunion, Recruiting and other activities, including a number of regular and spectacularly successful parties, is pivotal.

h) Physical resources

  • With additional support from the university, we have completed the first phase of the restoration of the new exhibition room on the main floor, in the former premises of the wood and metals workshop. Remaining projects for the space include permanent lighting and a flexible display system.
  • A grant from the Faculty of Engineering has enabled the purchase and installation of a new laser cutter, model X-660 Laser Platform from Universal Laser Systems Inc., in the School workshop. The new facility was operational for the fall term, 2003. Plans for fall, 2004, call for the addition of a compact 3-d prototyping facility, to be shared with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
  • In the summer of 2002, the university installed wireless networks in a number of buildings and departments, including, as a pilot project, the School of Architecture and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. In the School of Architecture, design studios on the first, second, third, fourth and fifth floors of the Macdonald-Harrington Building are now served by strategically distributed wireless access points; other studios, classrooms, seminar rooms, crit rooms and the Architecture Café were added to the wireless network with the installation of additional access points in the fall of 2003.

i) Human resources

  • In the summer of 2002, the Faculty of Engineering approved the School’s proposal for a new support position in Information Technology and multi-media. The position was filled in July, 2003, and the new technician, Carrie Henzie, started in August. The difference between this position and the Photography Technician’s position sacrificed in 1996 is that the new position combines expertise in digital and traditional media with the technical skills necessary to support the variety of equipment and processes required for the successful operation of our teaching and research programs.
  • The School of Architecture was a partner in the Department of Mechanical Engineering’s application to the National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) for a new Faculty Chair in Design for Extreme Environments. The program, which will support new full-time and part-time positions in Mechanical Engineering and Architecture, respectively, was approved by NSERC in February, 2003. Professor Jorge Angeles of Mechanical engineering is the new NSERC Chair in Design for Extreme Environments, and Professor Julia Bourke has been appointed to a new half-time position in the School of Architecture with teaching and research responsibilities in Architecture and Mechanical Engineering.
  • Professors Bruce Anderson and Radoslav Zuk retired in 2003, closing a chapter on a combined total of 75 years of full-time teaching in the School of Architecture.

j) New program initiatives: Urban Design

  • On February 25, 2003, the City of Montreal approved a new protocol d’entente with l’Université de Montréal and McGill University. Involving the Schools of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urbanism at l’Université de Montréal, and the Schools of Architecture and Urban Planning at McGill, the entente is based on a series of projects in teaching and research in architecture and urban design and is intended to stimulate the exploration and development of strategies to protect and improve the quality of Montreal’s built environment. The City contributed more than $100,000 into the program in the first year, and has committed another $100 000 for 2004-05.
  • Among the six projects anticipated in the first year of the entente, the first was a charrette, in spring 2003, for students in architecture and landscape architecture that examined possibilities for the transformation of a downtown parking lot into a public park. The results of this competition were published in May, 2004, and the city is presently developing the project.
  • Among the projects funded by the entente (total $60 000 over two years) and underway in 2004 is a joint research project with staff and students from McGill and Université de Montréal developing guidelines for architectural and urban design in Montreal. The exercise is a pilot project exploring mechanisms for improving the architectural quality of the urban environment, and is related to the parallel development by the city of Montreal’s Urban Master Plan.
  • The most interesting of the dossiers included in the entente is based on the development of a new joint graduate program in Urban Design between McGill and U de M, involving the two Schools of Architecture and Urban Planning at McGill, and the three Schools of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture at U de M. A working group has completed the proposal for the new program, which should be approved in the fall of 2004 and offered for the first time in the fall of 2005.

k) New course offerings

New courses offered this year include:

  • Sustainable Design of the Built Environment - Theory and Applications: This 3 credit seminar was offered as a pilot for a new inter-disciplinary sustainable design course to be offered next year by Julia Bourke as one of the stated objectives of the Design for Extreme Environments Program with mechanical Engineering. (Instructor: Julia Bourke)
  • Community Design Workshop: This is a design-build studio that addresses community-based projects with identified needs and requiring intervention on real sites. Working in teams under the direction of staff and visitors, students explore selected problems in architectural design and develop solutions from first concept to implementation on-site. The course restores a long-standing tradition of design-build and community engagement in the professional program of the McGill School of Architecture. Levels of interest on the part of students are high and the list of interesting and relevant projects in the community is extensive. (Instructor: staff)
  • Tradition and Modernity of Earthen Architecture and Construction: This course explores (raw or non-fired) earth as a sustainable building material for various environments in the whole world. Drawing on historical and contemporary international examples, the course emphasizes the major social, economical, environmental and technological aspects of the design and construction process in order to better respond to the needs, aspirations and means of the communities where the projects are taking place. (Instructor: Jean d’Aragon)

 

Prof. David Covo
Director