About the School
Message from new Director Anne Bordeleau
5 January, 2023
Dear students, faculty, and staff,
As we launch into 2023, it is with much excitement that I take on the directorship of the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism (ASAU). The ASAU has always impressed me as a professor working in Canada. I am so pleased to be a part of this community and to join the remarkable initiatives underway by our students, faculty, alumni, and extended community. It is a privilege to be working with all of you.
I am as enthusiastic as ever about how design – specifically through the lenses of architecture, urbanism, and conservation – offers opportunities to learn from, relate to, and act within the world. However, I am also keenly aware of our profound responsibilities as architectural educators, historians, practitioners, and students, particularly in the face of ongoing environmental, social and political crises.
Acknowledging the interconnectedness of the global world, the fragility of our planet, and the resilience we can cultivate together, I am interested in how we can creatively and critically meet our responsibility for the world we have in common. When I think about architectural education, my hope is that students come with an aspiration to work for the greater good and that we can help them nurture this vital sense of a shared aim, an awareness of their obligation, and confidence in their ability.
The Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism offers undergraduate and graduate students a unique community where their sense of purpose and meaning can flourish. The school’s legacy in speculative thinking and its clear commitment to addressing critical societal issues through inclusive education and design point to an unparalleled and much-needed effort to open new perspectives in the discipline and profession. With an exceptional faculty, increasing opportunities for interdisciplinary research and collaboration, and plans for two new graduate degrees in adaptive architecture and urbanism, an exciting rethinking is underway of what the design disciplines have been and can become. This mission aligns with Carleton University’s vision to Share Knowledge, Shape the Future.
The research groups and initiatives at ASAU and the university more broadly (Kinàmàgawin report, EDI Action Plan, sustainability and accessibility plans, to name a few) also provide a stimulating framework to think about the urgent issues that we need to engage in as architects – from the right to housing, reconciliation, and social justice to conservation and adaptive reuse, and their relationship to sustainability.
The preparation for accreditation this year is an opportune time to come together to discuss our strengths, current trajectories, and ambitions. It is a meaningful occasion to reaffirm the school community’s collective vision. Continuing the work to address biases and barriers will strengthen this vision. Considering a re-framing of our human-centered perspective within a more-than-human world, addressing the climate crisis, ecological care, and our collective well-being more intentionally are also essential tasks. Such commitments are part and parcel of outstanding work already underway, connecting to the university’s goal to Strive for Wellness, Strive for Sustainability.
Being situated in Ottawa is a significant position from which to do more of the invisible and essential work that is always required through design advocacy, education, and policy. There are real opportunities to impact national architectural policies, re-examine our relationship to the land, and open new futures for architecture. Let’s cultivate our ability to thrive – as faculty, staff, students, and alumni – and leverage the fantastic grasp of the world that an education in architecture and urbanism offers across social, political, environmental, cultural, and technological realms.
These high aspirations are, in some ways, daunting but also extremely energizing. While they point to the crucial tasks ahead, they also remind us of our ability to purposefully question, take positions, and carefully amplify those stories that we want our worlds to be made from.
I conclude with a warm thank you to Professor Federica Goffi for her dedication and accomplishments as interim director. She skillfully and tirelessly worked to bring the school together during the challenges of the pandemic and has done incredible work to support faculty research, bring funding and partnership opportunities to the school, and uplift student initiatives and our many programs. In addition, with total commitment, she took on projects initiated by former directors, including those set in motion during the most recent six-year tenure of Professor Jill Stoner. I know the school community joins me in thanking Federica and Jill for their unwavering effort and dedication to the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism and for bringing the school to where it is today. I am indebted to their work as well as to that of the great family of contributors that have been connected to the school since its beginnings.
We have a wonderful collective of faculty, staff, students, and alumni at the ASAU, extraordinary work underway, and no shortages of new initiatives fostered with our broader communities locally, nationally, and globally. I look forward to working with all of you on these important projects. I am committed to listening, recognizing what is in place, and making room for others to find their agency. I am also dedicated to a workplace where there is mutual respect, a shared understanding of a common goal, and an appreciation of the multiple paths we each take toward it.
Wishing everyone a stimulating and gratifying 2023 filled with small and big projects and abundant creativity!
Anne Bordeleau, PhD, OAQ, MRAICProfessor and Director, Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism
“In Canada, the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB) is the sole agency authorized by the Canadian Architectural Licensing Authorities (CALA) to accredit Canadian professional degree programs in architecture for the purposes of architectural licensure.” Source: CACB
In 2017, the CACB granted the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism a full 6-year renewal of accreditation for the M.Arch program. The School’s next accreditation review will be in 2023.
For more information on CACB accreditation, see CACB Conditions for Accreditation.
The Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism
The School of Architecture opened in fall 1968 with 12 students and four faculty under the directorship of Douglas Shadbolt. The purpose-built architecture building followed four years later as the program grew in size and significance. A pivotal period in the school’s history took place under the directorship of Alberto Perez-Gomez (1983-86); it defined an era for the school’s pedagogy and left a lasting legacy of design thinking and production. These ideas have left a tangible layer onto the otherwise brut concrete walls.
The School offered a five-year undergraduate professional degree, accredited, from the outset in 1968, by the Ontario Association of Architects. The first degree was awarded in 1973. During the first few years, faculty ranks increased annually as the student body grew. By 1983, there were 300 students and 24 faculty members.
In 1997, the School developed a proposal to restructure its 5-year Bachelor of Architecture to a 4-year, preprofessional Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS) followed by a 2-year professional Masters of Architecture (M.Arch).
In 2009, the school instituted 3-year M.Arch (Professional) degree, and undergraduate BAS students could major in Design, Conservation & Sustainability, or Urbanism.
Read more about ASAU’s program history here.
The Architecture Building – Building 22
Building 22 at Carleton University is much more than a fine example of the late-1960s Brutalist architecture. Its strict tartan grid contains dynamic spatial relationships that display a clear commitment to the exchange of ideas, the vitality of community, and democratic ideals. As a purpose-built architecture school, it acts both as a pedagogical tool and a model environment for creative learning.
The central Pit, two perpendicular “streets” on different levels, and complex visual transparencies lend an urban quality to the interior. These spaces host both formal and informal events. Small transformations over time have honoured the architects’ original vision of “building as laboratory.” Now 50 years old, the school and university are exploring renovation strategies to prepare the building for its next half-century.
The Lightroom Gallery
The Lightroom Gallery is the main dedicated gallery space in the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism. The space is a secure gallery space for exhibition of travelling exhibits, thesis work, alumni shows, and other special exhibitions.
View our events and learn more about our Lecture Series here.
Barbara A Humphreys Reading Room
Barbara A. Humphreys Memorial Reading Room is a notable resource for architecture and urbanism-related research. This room houses approximately 2000 volumes including journals and books focusing mainly on architecture and urbanism. This collection is available to the students for consultation and the room is staffed by student monitors. This space is used as a reading room, group workspace, and personal study space.
Ottawa – Our Nation’s Capital
The Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism continues to increase its profile and strengthen ties with Canada’s National Capital Region, home to 1.4 million people. Community interaction, essential to the school’s mission, occurs in many ways. The school’s Local Advisory Board (LAB), not only provides advice and advocacy but also keeps us informed about community-based initiatives to which the school can contribute. Interaction with the broader community occurs through collaborative projects, sponsorships, research, an expanding array of continuing education programs, and public programming, including the school’s Forum Lecture Series and exhibitions in its Lightroom Gallery.
The school uses the Ottawa region as a design laboratory, working with community associations, developers, design professionals, and local governments to promote design excellence and advocate on behalf of the built environment.
As many architects practicing in the region are Carleton alumni, good community relations are also good alumni relations. Alumni, and other design professionals, play an important role in the ongoing review of student work, which occurs in a very public forum.
Ottawa is home to national institutions of art and culture. As Canada’s capital, it also possesses a wealth of significant Canadian architecture, historical and contemporary.
Director of the Action Lab: Menna Agha
The school’s Architecture Action Lab is a public-interest experimental studio. It aims to be an ‘imaginarium’ for community change and impact by positioning architects as activists who provide architectural, planning, and housing services to community groups.
Director of CIMS: Stephen Fai
Carleton Immersive Media Studio (CIMS) is a Carleton University research centre dedicated to the advanced study of innovative, hybrid forms of representation that can both reveal the invisible measures of architecture and animate the visible world of construction. As part of the Carleton University’s Azrieli School of Architecture, we are committed to exploring and developing innovative symbiotic relationships between the digital and fabricated 2D and 3D modes of representation. Our mandate includes the advancement and development of the tools, processes and techniques involved in the transformation of data into tangible and meaningful artifacts that impact the way we see, think, and work in the world.
CIMS was established as an Organized Research Unit, within the Azrieli School of Architecture and the Faculty of Engineering at Carleton University, through a “New Opportunities” Canadian Foundation for Innovation grant awarded in 2002.
Director of CSALT: Sheryl Boyle
The CSALT Laboratory at the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism is focused on the study of materiality in architecture. The goal of this research lab is to effect and contribute to the understanding, application and invention of the material nature of architecture, construction and design. Of particular interest in the lab are the secondary properties of materials, the combination of organic and inorganic materials and the reassessment of traditional materials and methods within the context of our contemporary condition. The Facility is located in the Architecture Building.
The Carleton Urban Research Lab (c-url) at the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism promotes design thinking — seeking ways to expand research, teaching, and engagement around the Lab’s three central themes: water, cities, and equity. C-URL was founded by Saloojee and Bonier in January of 2017 to support grounded, ethical research engagement and to foster local and international interdisciplinary collaborations.
The Director of the Carleton Research | Practice of Teaching | Collaborative is Federica Goffi
C R | P T | Collaborative | is formed by PhD Candidates, PhD students, Post-Professional Master students and faculty of the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. The Collaborative pursues research in the humanities with a diverse research agenda that reflects the interests of the collaborators through the Practice of Teaching in academic settings in architecture.
C R | P T | C activities | are collaborative in nature and include research, publications, symposia, and exhibits.
C R | P T | C works | transmediate between the written word and epistemic constructions.
Director of the CLIFF: Zachary Colbert
The Carleton Climate Futures Design Laboratory combines design and scholarly research in an interdisciplinary setting to explore, anticipate and prototype climate futures in the built environment. This work elucidates productive linkages between architecture and politics toward elevating architecture’s capacity for political engagement both in the classroom and in the field. Through the lens of ‘atmospheres,’ our research weaves together the technical, ethical and post-humanist challenges of our time at the scales of the building and the city. These endeavours intersect with preexisting extensive and international efforts spanning disciplines, ideologies and geographies to re-imagine the North American way of life to address the impacts of climate change and societal climate change adaptation. We seek to unite disparate conversations across disciplines and to examine the interdependent scales of the individual, the community, the city and the region through public consultation, symposia, design charrettes, publications and speculative architectures. Climate change is a planetary phenomenon and while the potential for climate change to impact low-lying, coastal cities is clear; the potential of climate change to adversely impact energy and housing market fluctuations, human migration patterns, regional ecosystem stability, and severe weather events will be felt in inland cities as well. This research provides an opportunity to examine and redefine 21st century practices and paradigms related to North American multi-family housing, urban design, and building construction practices. Additionally, we seek to identify and define civic architectural practice strategies, proactive approaches from within the architecture profession that engage stakeholders in laying the groundwork for climate change adaptation at community and municipal levels.