Dinner in the Street 2021: Celebrating our Graduates

More than 120 guests gathered on Zoom on April 23 to share a meal and celebrate the thesis work of Master of Architecture students.

It was the second year in a row that the Azrieli School hosted an online event in lieu of the traditional Dinner in the Street in the Architecture Building to honour those graduating from the professional program.

A local caterer delivered a four-course meal to students in Ottawa, while those outside the city received a gift certificate to order a meal for home delivery. Faculty members, visiting critics, and graduates offered short speeches, congratulations, and words of reflection.

“The last time I saw many of you was March 2020,” said graduate Fiki Falola. “I remember taking only a few things from my desk, purposefully leaving my posters pinned on the wall, because I assumed that we would return soon. And now, somehow, we are in April 2021 — April, which has simultaneously signified beginnings and endings.“

The evening’s program included a video produced by 2021 graduate Joel Tremblay and dozens of slides generously provided by the students, tracing their time together over the past several years.

See the video here: https://vimeo.com/536080332

“What I will remember most about my time at this school is the sense of community,” said graduate Michael Jaworski. “There are deep and meaningful relationships that we’ve formed with each other. Friendships that have been kindled, in some cases more than friendships, will last our whole lives. These friends and partners may even become colleagues we’ll practice alongside.”

The hour-and-a-half event alternated between song and spoken words, approximating the leisurely pace of a multi-course meal.

Music was provided by 92-year-old jazz vocalist Ed Reed and pianist Adam Shulman, performing live from Reed’s home in Richmond, CA. “Over the past year, Ed has lost nearly all of his sight. He’s singing some lyrics for us tonight from memory; for other songs, we will hear his remarkable voice as recorded on his albums,” said Director Jill Stoner.

The songs selected for the evening were Unforgettable, All of our Tomorrows, Don’t Like Goodbyes, Here’s to Life, and Where Do You Start?

After the formal part of the program, the graduates remained online for an after-party that lasted until 1 a.m.

Quotes from speeches. Links to full speeches below.

Ozayr Saloojee, PhD, Associate Professor + Chair, MArch Program

Thank you…. to the students, for your patience, your stubbornness, your persistence, and for the dogged pursuit of architectural ideas, and like the God Anansi, for your tricky stories and knowledge, your drawings, reveries, cautionary tales, optimisms, and liberations.

Jill Stoner, Professor and Director Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism

This has been no ordinary year, and tonight is no ordinary celebration. Our emotions are necessarily mixed; there may be some sadness and perhaps some doubt about uncertain futures, but also much hope and shared joy.

Fiki Falola 2021 Master of Architecture graduate

We are achievers. We are resilient. We are open to new experiences. We are hard workers, team players, compassionate, critical thinkers. But most important of all, we are dreamers with unique visions to offer at an especially important time in history.

Piper Bernbaum, Assistant Professor

The power to amaze or to humble is within your hands. Be big, be bold. Continue to find your agency and advocate for what you have learned through the process. You have incredible voices and an incredible responsibility to the profession in the voice you pursue.

Zach Colbert, Assistant Professor, Associate Director, Graduate Programs (Interim)

The past two days of thesis reviews were rich with meaningful confrontations between architectural practice and pedagogy, between the individual and the collective, between race and the built environment, between the human and the planetary, between what is known and what is possible, between what the world is and what the world should be

Michael Jaworski 2021 Master of Architecture graduate

We’ve all had the nerves and lumps in our throats before a crit. But looking back, what did we have to be nervous about? I have never felt the amount of support that I feel from my friends and peers in this program anywhere else. I’ve always known that no matter what, someone was cheering me on.