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2009-2010

  1. Teaching and Learning
  2. Human Resources
  3. Student Achievements
  4. Staff Awards and Honours
  5. Research


Teaching and Learning

  • Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB) accreditation visit will occur in March 2012 so no major program or curricular changes will be implemented through FY11. Preparation for CACB accreditation will be a primary task for the upcoming fiscal year starting in the summer 2011.
  • Industry and institutional consultation with regard to the professional program (undergraduate and graduate) and post-professional programs are planned for the summer of 2011. Based on these discussions and curriculum committee determinations, proposed changes and revision of primarily the B.Sc. curriculum will be submitted in Fall 2011 for implementation FY12. Overall curricular structure will be evaluated in order to contemporize teaching models and delivery methods balanced with the goal of achieving greater efficiency in program delivery. The intent is for the School to lead curricular and course content innovation in architectural education at a global scale.
  • Further harmonization and consolidation of the post-professional complement of degree offerings including the Ph.D. program will occur throughout the year. Reconfiguration will be strategically intertwined with appropriate and expanded creative, scholarly, and funded research models.
  • Applications over the past 3 years continue to increase in all programs and McGill has emerged as the most selective Canadian school, attracting top-of-class students.
  • The Master of Architecture (Professional) Directed Research option (60 credits) was oversubscribed for the FY09 inaugural year. Admissions for FY10 were reduced in order to lower advising loads and for strategic evaluation purposes.
  • The building science area of the professional program has been addressed through strategic adjunct hiring. The Advanced Construction course was significantly transformed by hiring Maria Mingallon, a structural engineer from the internationally recognized engineering firm Arup. The course engaged advanced digital and fabrication technologies. A pavilion will be built in the 2011 winter term and has been approved for installation on campus and in the Quartier des Spectacles during the summer. The student design has attracted significant international attention. The renovation of the Advanced Construction course has set a standard by which all other courses in the building science area will be transformed.
  • FARMM with be significantly expanded over FY11 with advanced fabrication and prototyping infrastructure. This is the result of a CFI grant awarded to Prof. Aaron Sprecher.
  • The School of Architecture remains integrally involved in the “Institute of the Public Life of Arts and Ideas”. Professor Castro is one of the inaugural Fellows in iPLAI.

Human Resources

  • The Gerald Sheff Visiting Design Professorship had a very successful year. The endowment was used to hire a total of four professionals for the Master of Architecture professional program which introduced new ideas and strategies into a lively discourse within the School. The Sheff Professor for Fall 2009 was Brian Healy (Brain Healy Architects, Boston); for Winter 2010, Monica Adair and Stephen Kopp (The Acre, Saint John); and for Fall 2010, Maria Mingallon (Arup, Montreal).
  • Funding for the Planetary Society Visiting Professor in Architecture concludes June 2011. The three-year duration of this position with Dr. Torben Berns surpassed expectations.
  • 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.

Student Achievements

  • Professional M.Arch. graduate Andrea Chynoweth has won second prize in the 5th i-Rec Student Competition (architecture for disaster reduction and reconstruction), held in conjunction with the 5th i-Rec international conference at CEPT University campus (Navrangpura, Ahmedabad, India), July 15 – 20, 2010. Fourteen graduate and undergraduate students from seven universities in Canada, Colombia, New Zealand, Cuba and the UK submitted projects to the competition. Selection of best entries was made on the basis of contextual relevance, principles of participatory design, appropriate technology, cost effectiveness, flexibility, sustainability, and presentation of the project. The prizes were sponsored by The Arcop Group and Spon Press. The Project "Community Building: A Catalytic Approach" in Colonia, Uruguay was adjudged the second prize for its special consideration of local economy, capacity building and the use of responsive incremental design plan. The prize was $1000 (CAN) and 3 Spon Press books.
  • Two students from the School have won the Award of Excellence in the Steel Structures Education Foundation (SSEF) Architectural Student Design Competition (May 2010). The winning team was composed of U2 students Tara Hagan and Claire Wang, and their submission was entitled "The Sunken Garden, A Pavilion for the Public, Montreal's Underground City." The Award of Excellence comes with a $3,000 prize for the team and a $1,500 prize for the faculty supervisor (Pieter Sijpkes). SSEF will also cover all the expenses of the winning students to attend the annual meetings of the SSEF and the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction (CISC) in Kananaskis, Alberta, in June. A third U2 student from the School, Keith Thomas, has won the second prize, the Award of Merit, in the same competition. The Award of Merit comes with a $2,000 prize for the student and a $1,000 prize for the faculty supervisor (Pieter Sijpkes). From the competition call: "Students are invited not only to explore curvature as it may be expressed in form, surfaces, members, and connections; they are also invited to engage in the exploration of curvature as part of a structural dialogue of tension and compression that must be brought into balance in the structural resolution of architectural form. While they may range from utilitarian to exquisite in their execution, all responses must, nonetheless, come to terms with one simple problem: the clear expression of curvature encapsulated within a structural form. To this end, the solution cannot hide this structural requirement; it must, instead, be celebrated and exploited, both architecturally and structurally." The SSEF Architectural Design Competition was created to give a unique opportunity to students enrolled in professional programs in Architecture in Canada. The competitions provide incentive to explore the detailed design of exposed steel systems.
  • Architecture student Julia Webster was one of 14 McGill students to receive a Scarlet Key on Tuesday 23 March 2010 in a pinning ceremony presided over by Principal Heather Munroe-Blum. The Scarlet Key Society has promoted student leadership at McGill for over 75 years. The prestigious Scarlet Key award is given out to recognize and celebrate excellence in student leadership and extra-curricular activity. Julia Webster is a post-professional M.Arch. student, enrolled in the History and Theory of Architecture option. Since 2005, she has been a positive force in campus life. Julia was a member of the first Bachelor of Arts and Science Integrative Council (BASiC), serving as the VP Internal, VP Arts External and finally as President. In that time, she obtained a new central office for the council, solidified the funding structure and ensured succession planning for years to come. Under her presidency, the council produced the first issue of the journal Ampersand and developed a new website. In her fourth year, Julia was elected Vice-President Internal of the Students' Society of McGill University (SSMU). She re-envisioned the role of the VP Internal, formed a productive relationship with the Varsity Council and supported La Commission des Affaires Francophones and the Environment Commissioners. She oversaw construction of a new, bilingual website, confirming a commitment to bilingualism at the Society. She co-wrote the first "Greening Events Guide" and directed a multitude of successful campus-wide events, helping to build a sense of community. Julia was also involved in the creation of the 2009 SSMU Handbook, an acting editor of the Old McGill yearbook and a Photo Editor of the McGill Tribune.
  • School of Architecture graduate Elizabeth Paden (M.Arch. 2009) is the winner of the Canada Council for the Arts’ Prix de Rome in Architecture for Emerging Practitioners (March 2010). She will study the impact that large-scale public buildings can have on territorial boundaries within geopolitical regions. This $34,000 Prix de Rome is awarded to a recent graduate of one of Canada’s ten accredited schools of architecture who demonstrates outstanding potential. The prize winner is given the opportunity to visit significant architectural sites abroad, and to intern at an architecture firm of international stature. Over the next year, Ms. Paden will travel to three regions that offer insight into the humanity of architecture, including The Ghetto (suburbs of Paris), The Colony (boundary between Israel and the West Bank) and The Fringe (Euro-Arctic boundaries of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia). She hopes these studies of responsive social design will inform the Canadian architectural process for peripheral Aboriginal communities and enrich cultural exchange between communities. Ms. Paden’s internship will be with 0047 in Oslo, Norway. Together, they will develop a collaborative public exhibition to be showcased in Canada. Ms. Paden was selected by an assessment committee consisting of architects Susan Herrington (Vancouver), Todd Emel (Saskatoon), Marie-Josée Therrien (Toronto) and Terrence Smith-Lamothe (Halifax). Her submission impressed the committee. They were “drawn to the manner in which she proposes to investigate the challenging theme of boundary through a thoughtful selection of diverse existing architectural interpretations and then relates them back to a specific Canadian condition.”
  • A McGill team of five M1 Architecture students won third prize this year in the 15th edition of the CCA’s Interuniversity Charrette (November 5 to 8, 2009). M.Arch. (professional) students Gabrielle Poirier, Ksenia Kagner, Michael Faciejew, Simon Bastien and Sebastian Bartnicki competed against over 30 other teams from McGill, U de M, Laval, UQAM, Carleton and Ryerson. Their project From Boundaries to Borders impressed the jury with its "sensitive and intelligent focus on the interstitial spaces, as well as the iteration between public and private uses." The jury also found that a "key strength of this project lies in its focus on ecological performance to enrich biodiversity." The CCA Interuniversity Charrette is a forum for future creators and thinkers of urbanity, benefitting from all the disciplines linked to the life of cities: architecture, urban design and planning, landscape architecture, interior design, industrial design, and graphic design. The theme of this year's charrette was "Nourishing the city through landscape." Participants were challenged to tackle the broad and admittedly immense task of reconciling urban culture and nature. The specific mandate involved exploring ways in which to build on the strengths of Parc-Extension to make it a more viable, convivial, and sustainable urban context.
  • Toronto Cultural Services’ Public Art Office has announced the winning public art concept for June Callwood Park. OKTA, by Steve Bates and Douglas Moffat, will be the City of Toronto’s first permanent sound-based public artwork and the first permanent public commission by the Montreal-based artists. Steve Bates is a media artist, musician, and audio technician whose current work revolves around improvised and composed music, radio, and installation projects. Trained as a landscape architect, Douglas Moffat’s work explores the relationship between sound and the built landscape. Using field recordings, electro-acoustics, and landscape architecture, his projects are spaces built for listening. Both artists live in Montreal, where Moffat is currently an M.Arch. student in the post-professional program. OKTA was selected through an open competition process that began in February 2009. An independent panel expert in contemporary sound art, local community issues and June Callwood’s life selected both the short list of artists and winning concept. June Callwood Park will be located between Fleet Street and Fort York Boulevard in the emerging Fort York Neighbourhood of Toronto. The park and artwork are expected to be complete by spring 2011.

Staff Awards and Honours

  • Atelier Big City has been awarded one of six 2010 Awards of Excellence by Canadian Architect (December 2010). These awards are given each year to architects and architectural graduates for buildings in the design stage. One of only two national award programs devoted exclusively to architecture, the Awards of Excellence have recognized significant building projects in Canada on an annual basis since 1968. This year's winners have been selected by a jury consisting of Janna Levitt of Levitt Goodman Architects in Toronto, James Cheng of James KM Cheng Architects in Vancouver, and Andrew King of Cannon Design. Awards are given for architectural design excellence. Jurors considered response to the program, site, geographical and social context, and evaluated physical organization, structure, materials and environmental features. The principals of Atelier Big City are Adjunct Professor Howard Davies (B.Arch. 1983), Anne Cormier (B.Arch. 1982) and Randy Cohen (B.Arch. 1982). In addition, Jeffrey Ma (M.Arch. 2010), for his project Logic Shift, is one of two students selected as an award winner for a graduating thesis project.
  • Fournier Gersovitz Moss & Associés Architectes (FGMAA) is proud to announce that it has received two awards for preservation of a heritage building under the most recent Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals (CAHP) awards program (November 2010). FGMAA received an Award of Merit for the restoration of the F.A.C.E school’s auditorium in Montreal, and an award for restoration of the Southeast Tower, West Block Building, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. The members of FGMAA are Adjunct Professor Julia Gersovitz (B.Arch. 1975), Alain Fournier (B.Arch. 1975), Rosanne Moss (B.Arch. 1980), and Georges Drolet (B.Arch. 1984).
  • The jury chaired by Dan S. Hanganu has selected the team of Atelier Big City, Fichten Soiferman et Associés and L'ŒUF as winner of the architectural design competition for the future Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Cultural Centre (October 2010). Numerous McGill alumni are involved in this win: Adjunct Professor Howard Davies (B.Arch. 1983), Anne Cormier (B.Arch. 1982) and Randy Cohen (B.Arch. 1982) for Atelier Big City; Jacob Fichten (B.Arch. 1967) and Gerald Soiferman (B.Arch. 1963) for Fichten Soiferman et Associés; Bernard Oliver (B.Arch. 1992 and M.Arch. 1997), Danny Pearl (B.Arch. 1986) and Mark Poddubiuk (B.Arch. 1985) for L'ŒUF. “The public presentation of the finalist projects in this architectural competition allowed citizens to appreciate the visions and ideas of the various teams, and of the winning team in particular,” said Christine St-Pierre, Québec Minister of Culture, Communications and the Status of Women. “I congratulate Atelier Big City, Fichten Soiferman et Associés and L'ŒUF for their inventive spirit. They have produced a concept that will make this a truly valuable cultural centre that will meet the needs of the community.”
  • Prof. Annmarie Adams has accepted the directorship of the McGill Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies. Effective September 1, 2010, Prof. Adams will serve as Director for a three-year term. She will continue to teach at the School on a half-time basis. The IGSF was formerly the McGill Centre for Research and Teaching on Women, with which Prof. Adams has been affiliated since 1990. The Institute came into being at the end of March 2009, as an academic unit in the Faculty of Arts. It aims to stimulate, support and disseminate research in gender, sexual diversity, and feminist studies through five interdisciplinary research axes. The IGSF is also the administrative site for McGill's Sexual Diversity Studies Program and the Women's Studies Program. The IGSF organizes a number of public events each academic year, including symposia, public lectures, workshops and a seminar series. The outgoing director is Prof. Marguerite Deslauriers of the Department of Philosophy.
  • The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada has published the names of the 31 members advanced in 2010 to Fellowship in the College of Fellows. The School of Architecture is proud to announce that Prof. Ricardo L. Castro is one of those members whose induction ceremony will take place at the convocation during the RAIC/SAA Festival of Architecture in Saskatoon on June 24. The College of Fellows formally recognizes members and distinguished laypersons who have made outstanding contributions to the profession. Fellowship in the RAIC is an honour conferred on members singled out for their contribution to research, scholarship, public service or professional standing to the good of architecture in Canada, or elsewhere.
  • Prof. Annmarie Adams and 24 other researchers in six countries are part of an interdisciplinary team to receive $2.5 million in MCRI (Major Collaborative Research Initiative) research funding over seven years from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (March 2010). Led by sociologist Prof. Pat Armstrong from York University, the group will explore promising practices for understanding and organizing long-term residential healthcare. The methodology of the project is particularly innovative, including thematic clustering, site switching, and rapid ethnographies. Prof. Adams' specific contribution will be to identify promising architectural trends in current facilities and to evaluate the benefits and pitfalls of both residential and medical design models. U2 student Eve Lachapelle will participate in the project this summer as part of the Faculty's SURE (Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering) program.
  • The 2009 SITQ Award for Excellence, given to an individual (or group) who has made an exceptional contribution to heritage preservation, has been awarded this year to Julia Gersovitz (B.Arch. 1975) and Fournier Gersovitz Moss et Associés Architectes. The award highlights the work of the firm's group of heritage specialists that includes Julia Gersovitz (an Adjunct Professor at the School), Rosanne Moss (B.Arch. 1980), Georges Drolet (B.Arch. 1984), Dima Cook (B.Arch. 1995), John Diodati (B.Arch. 1990) and their teams. The Award for Excellence is given out as part of the 19th Montreal Architectural Heritage Campaign (City of Montreal and Fondation Héritage Montréal). The citation includes the following: "For close to 35 years, Julia Gersovitz has contributed to the preservation and rehabilitation of Montreal's architectural heritage, whether through her practice as an architect, her teaching at McGill University and Université de Montréal, her active participation in a number of public commissions or her involvement with advocacy groups for heritage preservation. This dedicated woman has been very instrumental in making heritage conservation a new specialization, a contribution that the Montreal Architectural Heritage Campaign wishes to underscore."

Research (Selected)

Adams, Annmarie

  • CIHR, Health Care Technology and Place (2009-2015), Peter Coyte, Principal Investigator; Annmarie Adams et al, Co-applicants ($492,500 for 09/10).
  • SSHRC MCRI "Remaining Long-term Residential Care: International Study of Promising Practices," (2010-2017), Principal investigator Pat Armstrong, York University ($242,940 for 09/10).

Berns, Torben

  • SSHRC Image, Text, Sound and Technology (ongoing), “Towards a transdisciplinary approach to challenges in the built world: Developing the virtual charrette to mediate collaboration in Canada and the global context,” co-PI with Michael Jemtrud ($40,228 for 09/10).
  • SSHRC Public Outreach Grants – Innovation, Leadership and Prosperity (ongoing), “Integrated dissemination forums for architecture and urban design,” Collaborator ($39,192 for 09/10).

Bhatt, Vikram

  • Public Health Agency of Canada, Canada (2009-2012), “Health & Economic Implication of Public Transportation,” Contract with Vikram Bhatt, Franque Gimard and Laurette Dubé ($64,135 for 09/10).
  • McGill Sustainability Project Fund, Making the Edible Campus, 2010-2011. Vikram Bhatt PI; Leila Farah RA; Tim Murphy and Rayna Goldman, Santropol Roulant, Collaborators ($30,000 for 09/10).
  • Indo Canadian Shastri Institute, Collaborative Research Project: 2010-12, "Impact of household food insecurity on human health in Central India: A case study of Bundelkhand Region, Uttar Pradesh," Shahab Fazal, Aligarh University, Christopher Bryant, University of Montreal and Vikram Bhatt, McGill University, Co investigators ($20,000 for 09/10).

Bressani, Martin

  • SSHRC, Standard Research Grant (May 2008 to April 2011), “Immersion into Atmosphere,” Professor Martin Bressani, principal, Professor Marc Grignon, co-researcher ($58,199 for 09/10).

Castro, Ricardo

  • Co-applicant in MCRI (SSHRC): “The Hispanic Baroque: Complexity in the First Atlantic Culture,” Juan Luis Suárez (principal) The University of Western Ontario, 2007-2014 ($19,000 for 09/10).

Covo, David

  • Resource Positive Envelope Design; funding agent: Asia Pacific Partnership, March 2010 - April 2011, D. MacLeod (principal) and D. Covo, project leaders ($10,000 for 09/10).

Friedman, Avi

  • FQRNT/MITACS (April 1, 2010 - March 31, 2011), “Digital Platform for Mass Customization of Housing,” A. Friedman (Principal) with A. Sprecher and B. Eid ($20,000 for 09/10).
  • Public Health Agency of Canada, Canada (2009-2012), “Health & Economic Implication of Public Transportation,” Contract with Vikram Bhatt, Franque Gimard and Laurette Dubé ($64,135 for 09/10).

Jemtrud, Michael

  • SSHRC Public Outreach Grants – Innovation, Leadership and Prosperity. “ Integrated dissemination forums for architecture and urban design” ($39,192 for 09/10).
  • SSHRC Image, Text, Sound and Technology. “ Towards a transdisciplinary approach to challenges in the built world: Developing the virtual charrette to mediate collaboration in Canada and the global context” ($40,228 for 09/10).
  • CFI Leaders Opportunity Fund, Facility for Architectural Research in Media and Mediation, April 2008-present, ($260,802 for 09/10).
  • CFI – IOF, November 2008-present ($20,560 for 09/10).

Luka, Nik

  • Volvo Research and Education Foundations, Smaller Project Grant (Jan. 2008 – June 2010): “Optimising public transport infrastructure for sustainable city-building and urban regeneration: whole-corridor urban design strategies,” N. Luka, Principal ($151,130 for 09/10).
  • SSHRC, Public Outreach Grant: Innovation, Leadership and Prosperity (May 2010-December 2011): “Integrated Dissemination Forums for Architecture and Urban Design,” M. Jemtrud (Principal), N. Luka, T. Berns ($28,500 for 09/10).
  • FQRSC, Grant--Regroupements stratégiques (May 2008 - April 2013): « Villes Régions Monde : Faire et refaire les agglomérations urbaines dans un espace mondialisé, » J.-P. Collin, INRS Urbanisation culture société (Principal) et al. ($5,000 for 09/10).

Mellin, Robert

  • Canada Council (Visual Arts Section): Grant approved for research on “Newfoundland's Early Modern Architecture, 1945-60,” 2008-2010 ($7,500 for 09/10).
  • Beaverbrook Foundation (Canada): publication grant for "Newfoundland Modern: Architecture in the Smallwood Years, 1949-1972" ($25,000 for 09/10).
  • Canada Council (Visual Arts Section): publication grant for "Newfoundland Modern: Architecture in the Smallwood Years, 1949-1972" ($23,600 for 09/10).

Pérez-Gómez, Alberto

  • Research/Creation Grant 2007-2010: SSHRC, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, to develop projects generated from “Polyphilo” in order to test digital media on problems of architectural representation ($90,000 for 09/10).

Sijpkes, Pieter

  • SSHRC Research/Creation Grant "The New Architecture of Phase Change: Computer Assisted Ice Construction,” Pieter Sijpkes, and Jorge Angeles, Chair in Design, Mech. Eng. ($82,500 for 09/10).

Sprecher, Aaron

  • FQRNT/MITACS (April 1, 2010 - March 31, 2011), “Digital Platform for Mass Customization of Housing,” A. Friedman (Principal) with A. Sprecher and B. Eid ($20,000 for 09/10).

Prof. Michael Jemtrud
Director