Winners of the 2021 Azrieli Mini-Thesis Award

Six students in the professional master’s program in the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism have received a 2021 Azrieli Mini-Thesis Award.

The award is bestowed annually to students who demonstrate excellence in their thesis research and design work. Each winner receives $1,500.

The awards committee chose the winners following a mid-term evaluation of the master’s thesis. Students submitted a comprehensive document outlining their research and design methodologies and approach, as well as architectural drawings and other media used to explore and examine their topics.

The awards committee noted the many excellent submissions this year.

Climate Change and Canadian Historic Sites   

Winner: Etienne Bérubé  

Advisors: Associate Professors Mariana Esponda and Mario Santana 

This mini-thesis addresses the complexity of preserving historical architecture in the context of climate change through the thorough assessment of the on-going cumulative factors affecting the Bartlett complex in the Forillon National Park. This is an area in the Gaspésie peninsula at the forefront of the crisis. The mitigation project studies the site’s adaptability and resiliency through macro and micro complexities and its systematic use of guidelines and principles.


A timely subject – well grounded. The jury appreciated how the student has demonstrated an understanding of a global concern well anchored into a local issue.  

NARRATIVE LANDSCAPES OF BERLIN: Conversations between the Past and Future in design   

Winner: Keely Dobranski   

Advisor: Assistant Professor Suzanne Harris-Brandts  

This mini-thesis presents a rigorous approach, positioning itself within theories of counter-preservation, by capturing the complexity of a historic site and proposing the use of decay in design possibilities.


Awarded for the remarkable quality and quantity of materials produced to date, especially in the archival research, mapping and production of artifacts related to the Cold War’s surveillance zone, Field Station Berlin.  

Ventilating Spaceship Earth  

Winner: Paul Jackson   

Advisor: Associate Professor Lisa Moffitt

This mini-thesis received an award for the density of its theoretical approach. It makes materiality explicit concerning notions of atmosphere and isolation and the development of the domestic interior and exterior. This is done through various evocative explorations and visualizations in model making.


The juxtaposition of the writing pieces and the highly poetic images reveals the complexities of felt boundaries.  

De-Colonial Intersections of Conservation and Healing:  The Indian Residential School System   

Winner: Catherine McBain   

Advisor: Assistant Professor Natalia Escobar Castrillón

This mini-thesis takes a strong critical and theoretical position to propose a renewed decolonizing effort toward the realities and collective memories of the Indian Residential School System. The mini-thesis proposes a disambiguation between space and place to present powerful mappings in a non-colonizing position in relation to the study of indigenous mapping itself.   


Written in rigorous academic fashion, it is awarded for the use of critical and expanded bibliographical references. The student has untangled this contested history with a sensitive approach.

ĀYAT AL-QĀHIRAH Cairo’s Cosmic Realms and Earthly Realities   

Winner: Rehab Salama   

Advisors: Associate Professors Ozayr Saloojee and Johan Voordouw  

This mini-thesis is very well framed within precise literature tackling ideas of the sacred and architecture. It presents high quality narratives and depictions, while experimenting in representing the invisible through beautifully crafted mappings, sensitive to invisible layered forces.


The body of drawings to date is mesmerizing.  


Winner: Kimberley Wint   

Advisor: Associate Professor Benjamin Gianni  

This mini-thesis presents an overall complete package clearly stating ambitions and intentions for a housing project in the redevelopment of Trench Town in Jamaica by researching historical, typological, and morphological context.


The project is already proposing units of housing typology while considering intentions for the development at the urban scale.