• Since the last report, the Faculty underwent a search for a new Director, and filled the position with Professor Michael Jemtrud (Carleton University) who took up his position as a full-time Associate Professor with tenure on August 1, 2007.
• Since the last report, the School underwent a search for a full-time tenure-track position in digital media and fabrication, and filled the position with Professor Aaron Sprecher (University of Syracuse) who will take up his responsibilities as an Assistant Professor in the summer of 2008.
• The School will undertake another search for a full-time tenure-track position in the fall of 2008, in the area of building sciences and sustainability. The successful candidate will be expected to take up his or her responsibilities in the summer of 2009.
• Following three successive years of one-month visits in the Winter term by the annual Gerald Sheff Visiting Professor in Architecture (2006 Dan Hanganu, 2007 John Shnier, 2008 Steve Badanes), the School is now able to hire Sheff professors on a full-time basis. Accordingly, following a search process, Cynthia Ottchen (Office for Metropolitan Architecture, Rotterdam) has been selected as the Sheff Professor for fall 2008, and Jody Beck (University of Pennsylvania) for winter 2009.
• As a result of a generous donation, the School established the position of a visiting professorship to be determined named Professorship in Architecture for the 2008-2009 academic year. The mandate of the Professorship is to investigate ways in which architecture can contribute to notions of habitation and alternative ways of dwelling through scholarship and research in the areas of space exploration, cosmology, technology, cultural and environmental sustainability as it relates to contemporary themes in architecture. The inaugural professor will be Torben Berns (PhD McGill 2002) who will take up his responsibilities on September 1, 2008.
• The School continues to try to redress, where possible, the gender imbalance in the complement of full-time and part-time teachers. More than one-third of the approximately two dozen adjunct appointments are women, and approximately one-third of the teaching positions in the design studios are held by women. Women are also well-represented in the list of invited critics for design reviews, and on the list of speakers invited to present public lectures. The gender imbalance continues to be a concern for the School: it is a priority during all search processes, where the objective is to find the best possible candidates.
• The requirement for adjunct teachers will be somewhat lower due to the addition of the two visiting professorships, but maintenance of funding levels for part-time teachers remains a priority. The Professor-in-Practice position is an objective of our fundraising efforts and is a priority in the current McGill capital campaign. As computing and fabrication demands increase with the mandate to create a “digital culture” within the School, an additional technical support position is necessary.
• Professional M.Arch. student Per Kefgen and post-professional M.Arch. (Urban Design option) student Shannon Harvey are two of three recipients of the 2008 Power Corporation of Canada Awards at the CCA. The award offers students enrolled in the Master of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Environmental Design or Urban Design programs across Canada a three-month residency at the CCA during the summer of 2008 in which to undertake a common research project and to benefit from the collections and resources of the institution. Each recipient receives a $7000 stipend. The other student award holder is Tomek Bartczak (Toronto). The three recipients are working on a collaborative research project on cold environments. Full details on CCA website. This is the fifth consecutive year that McGill Architecture students have won the CCA Power Corporation Award. Previous winners are Julia Tischer (2007), Catherine Vandermeulen (2006), Peter Sealy (2005), and Lian Chang (2004).
• Three third-year undergraduate McGill Architecture students have received top awards in the 2008 Lyceum Traveling Fellowship in Architecture competition. Gabrielle Marcoux was awarded second prize (a $6,000 travel fellowship), Jason Tsironis was awarded one of two equal third prizes (a $1,000 grant), and Vuk Krcmar-Grkavac was awarded one of three merit awards. The McGill submissions were projects developed in the U3 studio sections of Prof. Martin Bressani and of Profs. David Theodore and Tom Balaban.
• Two McGill students were part of the team that won first prize in the Écologez Integrated Design for Green Building Competition (March 8 and 9, 2008): Aurore Paluel-Marmont (U2, Architecture) and Stanley Tran (Civil Engineering). The six other winning team members are students from Laval, Concordia, UQAM and U de M. The objective of the project was to design the Montreal Biosphere as it would be in the year 2017 on its 50th anniversary. The competition's aim was to offer students a unique opportunity to participate, in a multidisciplinary team, in the integrated design process of an ecological building.
• Working under the direction of Adjunct Professor Simon Jones, McGill Architecture students have been collaborating since January 2006 with students from Université de Montréal and École de Technologie Supérieure to create Team Montreal, the only Canadian team among 20 competing in the 2007 Solar Decathlon, an international Washington, DC-based design competition. Partially funded by the US Department of Energy, the event has teams competing to build the most efficient solar dwelling. Team Montreal began building the prototype in late March and completed construction in August. In September, the team dismantled the solar house and transported it to the Mall in Washington, DC where they competed in October against teams from the United States, Germany, Spain and Puerto Rico. Team Montreal came in eighth in the overall standings.
• Two rooms designed by Architecture students at McGill have been built at the Ice Hotel in Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier outside Quebec City. Teams from McGill, UQAM, U de M, and Laval competed to have their designs realized in snow and ice, and a total of four rooms were built. Manuel Cisneros, a student in the first year of the professional Master's program, received one of the top three prizes. Second-year undergraduate students Hannah McDonald, Traian Dima, and Claudia Barra DeVincenzo received an honourable mention.
• A McGill team of five U2 Architecture students shared first prize this year with a team from Laval and U de M in the 13th edition of the CCA’s Interuniversity Charrette (October 25 to 29, 2007). Second-year undergraduate students Valerie Lechene, Leah Bell, Aurore Paluel, Hannah McDonald, and Marie El-Nawar (under the supervision of Adjunct Professor Francois Emond) competed against 32 other teams from McGill, U de M, Laval, UQAM, Carleton and Ryerson. The CCA Charrette (October 25 to 29, 2007) engaged the dialogue of cultural diversity in public spaces. The call for ideas and proposals concerned a major Montreal street (Côte des Neiges Road between Queen Mary Road to the south and Jean Talon Street to the north) whose topography, architecture and local population would inspire a new way of thinking about the city and public spaces, in opening the project to all senses and all voices, in time as well as in space. Participants were free to use the techniques and graphic languages of their choice in expressing their imaginative approaches.
• For the third year in a row, students from the School have won the Award of Merit in the Steel Structures Education Foundation (SSEF) Architectural Student Design Competition. Students were challenged to design a tower on a site of the designers’ choosing. The structure had to be primarily steel but otherwise the material palette was open. The winning team was composed of Architecture U2 students Valerie Buzaglo and Serena Lee and Civil Engineering students Jennifer Marshall, Dominique Nguyen-Huy and Nisreen Balh. The Award of Merit comes with a $2,000 prize for the team and a $1,000 prize for the faculty supervisor (Pieter Sijpkes).
Staff Awards and Honours
• The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP), and Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA) have awarded a 2008 National Urban Design Award in the category Urban Fragments to the project "Making the Edible Campus" of McGill University. The lead firm of the project is the Minimum Cost Housing Group (School of Architecture), directed by Prof. Vikram Bhatt with assistance from Leila Farah (PhD candidate). Advisors on the project are Profs. Nik Luka and Jeanne Wolfe. Graduate students who worked on the project are Ehsan Daneshyar, Sally Diaz, Jie Liu, Anne-Marie Malouin, Gaurav Sharma, Aba Simpson, and Ivan Soto. Associate firms are Santropol Roulant (Jane Rabinowicz, executive director, and Tim Murphy, event organizer) and Alternatives (Ismael Hautecoeur, project coordinator, and Rotem Ayalon, coordination). Vital collaboration at McGill was provided by Planning and Institutional Analysis (Chuck Adler, Director) and Building Services and Grounds (Facilities Management and Development).
• Alberto Pérez-Gómez, Saidye Rosner Bronfman Professor of the History of Architecture, has been awarded the 2008 David Thomson Award for Excellence in Graduate Supervision and Teaching by the McGill GPSO (Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office). The announcement by Prof. Martin Kreiswirth, Associate Provost (Graduate Education) and Dean of GPSO, praised Prof. Pérez-Gómez's contribution to graduate education at McGill, citing in particular his inspirational mentorship. The award and a citation will be presented at the Faculty of Engineering convocation ceremony on May 28. For information on the award and a list of previous winners, please visit the GPSO webpage for this particular award.
• Medicine by Design: The Architect and the Modern Hospital, 1893-1943, by William C. Macdonald Professor Annmarie Adams, has been published by the University of Minnesota Press in the series Architecture, Landscape, and American Culture. In the history of medicine, hospitals are usually seen as passive reflections of advances in medical knowledge and technology. In Medicine by Design, Prof. Adams challenges these assumptions, examining how hospital design influenced the development of twentieth-century medicine and demonstrating the importance of these specialized buildings in the history of architecture.
• Professor Annmarie Adams, Research Associate David Theodore, and a team of researchers have developed a new case study for the award-winning website, Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History. The intention of the website, funded by Heritage Canada, is to provide students with an array of primary sources and to inspire them to solve the mysteries through critical thinking. The mystery is the sudden death of 62-year old Ada Redpath and her 24-year old son, Clifford, in their Square Mile mansion on Montreal's Sherbrooke Street West on June 13, 1901. Adams and Theodore emphasize how architecture reveals differences in social class and illuminates contemporary notions of medical conditions, particularly depression and epilepsy. The Redpath mystery was launched in March 2008.
• Professor Robert Mellin has curated the exhibition Tilting: Rugged Landscape, Strong People, Fragile Architecture at The Rooms in St. John’s, Newfoundland, running from September 28, 2007, through January 13, 2008.
• Emeritus Professor Radoslav Zuk received a Shevchenko Medal during the XXII Triennial Ukrainian Canadian Congress held in Winnipeg from October 19 to 21, 2007. "The Shevchenko Medal is the highest form of recognition that can be granted by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress," and has been awarded to Prof. Zuk "in recognition of his significant contribution to the development of Ukrainian culture in Canada and especially for his outstanding contribution to Ukrainian and Canadian architecture. He successfully integrates a critical and creative approach to the interpretation of the basic elements of Ukrainian culture with the needs and criteria of contemporary architecture." Earlier in the summer, the Ukrainian Academy of Arts in Kyiv awarded Radoslav Zuk, who has served at the Academy as Head of the State Examination Commission for the granting of degrees in architecture in 2005, 2006 and 2007, a special diploma of appreciation. The document recognizes Prof. Zuk's "significant individual contribution to the development of the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture."
• The Canada Council for the Arts has awarded the Professional Prix de Rome in Architecture (January 15, 2008) to Adjunct Professors Manon Asselin and Katsuhiro Yamazaki of the Montreal firm atelier T.A.G. The prize will enable Ms. Asselin and Mr. Yamazaki to study how current socio-economic and political environments redefine the activities of young architectural offices.
• Atelier Big City (Adjunct Professor Howard Davies, Anne Cormier, and Randy Cohen) is one of seven winning teams in the New Silk Road competition which explores, in the park of Quijiang's NanHu in Xi'an, the cultural capital of China, the identity of nine different areas and cultures from Europe. Twenty-four projects were submitted by invited teams to the competition. The global design guidelines were defined by Dahan Architectural Design Consulting and Integral Jean Beaudoin.
• In January 2007 a single-stage international competition was called for the design of the new Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina in Novi Sad, Serbia. The jury met in late June 2007 to judge the 69 submitted projects and selected three projects for prizes and four for mentions. The first prize was won by the team of Adjunct Professor Robert Claiborne, Ivan Markov, and professional Master's student Lia Ruccolo.
• Associate Professor and Director of the School Michael Jemtrud has been awarded $199,793 in funding for the Facility for Architectural Research in Media and Mediation (FARMM) through the Canada Foundation for Innovation's Leaders Opportunity Fund. The funding is part of a total of $22.5 million awarded to 134 projects at 31 institutions across Canada ($5,989,221 of this funding was awarded to 31 projects in Quebec, of which $1,449,225 was awarded to 10 projects at McGill). FARMM has been established for the research and development of digital media related to architectural and urban design, engineering, and related cultural and artistic activities.
• Associate Professor Martin Bressani has received a Standard Research Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) in the amount of $105,000 (over three years). Prof. Bressani is Principal Investigator on the grant, and, together with Prof. Marc Grignon (History) from Laval University, will research the topic "Immersion into Atmosphere: History and the Fictional Dimension of Architectural Experience (1770-1890)."
• Assistant Professor Nik Luka has been awarded $109,000 for 2008 by the Future Urban Transport programme supported by the Volvo Research and Educational Foundations (VREF) for his project entitled "Optimising Public Transport Infrastructure for Sustainable City-Building and Urban Regeneration: Whole-Corridor Urban Design Strategies." The funding is renewable for a second year in 2009, at the same amount.
Prof. Michael Jemtrud