CCUSA-RAIC Academic Summit: Faculty present on inclusive space, race and heritage conservation, re-opening retail, and sea-level rise

July 19, 2021

Three members of the Azrieli School faculty presented peer-reviewed papers at the 2021 Canadian Council of University Schools of Architecture and Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s Academic Summit in June 2021. They are Assistant Professor Natalia Escobar Castrillón, Assistant Professor Piper Bernbaum, and Associate Professor Zachary Colbert. (Colbert presented a project and paper, each with a co-author.) Please see descriptions below.

The Mixing Space: Exploring Inclusive Space through the Symbolic Boundaries of the Jewish Eruv

By Assistant Professor Piper Bernbaum

Piper Bernbaum hunting the Eruv

This paper is an introduction to the spatial and symbolic practices of the Jewish Eruv. It investigates the constructed boundary as an example of inclusive and participatory design for the broader architectural profession. The Jewish Eruv, composed of simple materials and existing infrastructures, is a religious spatial boundary used to extend the private domain of the home into the public domain of a city, providing leniencies to those within its midst to do necessities of work without breaking the sabbath. But, the consequences of the Eruv are much greater; the ritual boundary is a means of establishing a community within pre-existing neighbourhoods.

Dismantling Symbolic Violence: The Critical Conservation of Plantation Architecture

By Assistant Professor Natalia Escobar Castrillón

Menokin Remembrance Structure,
Credit: Reid Architecture

This paper reflects on the role of architects in addressing contemporary debates on race and heritage conservation through the critical assessment of the projects at the Monticello and the Menokin Plantation in Virginia, USA. The paper asks: Should buildings and landscapes associated with an explicit and radical history of racial oppression be preserved “as they were”? It argues that without an architectural intervention that condemns and provides a critical framework for the exclusionist ideology behind their original design, white supremacy reproduces itself through conservation choices.

[Project] Reopening Retail: Architectural Strategies for Adapting Retail Environments to Physical Distancing Protocols

By Josh Wallace (2019 Carleton University MArch graduate, intern architect, Keck Architecture + Design) and Associate Professor Zachary Colbert


Link to Flipbook:

Worldwide, the novel coronavirus is greatly impacting the built environment. Historically, times of public health crisis have propelled architecture and urban design in innovative new directions toward building healthier and more just cities. For example, the first building codes, established in Amsterdam and New York in the early 20th century, were in response to tuberculosis outbreaks within shipyard workers ’tenement housing. These codes permanently introduced daylighting principles, building ventilation, and regulated building occupancies into urban development. Today, we find ourselves in a similar period of necessary design innovation.


This flipbook presents drawings of five common retail typologies situated along a main street. These are a restaurant, bar, small grocer, fashion boutique, and fitness studio. Architectural modifications can be turned on and off by the reader, allowing an exploratory and interactive approach to imagining retail adaptions that respond to COVID-19. We encourage you to combine different options to generate your own ideas on how retail spaces can evolve in response to COVID-19 and future pandemics.

[Paper] Before the Flood: A geospatial analysis of confounding relationships between sociopolitical and biophysical factors, real property valuation and predicted sea-level rise in Richmond, BC

By Monika Imeri (Carleton University geography PhD candidate) and Associate Professor Zachary Colbert

This paper postulates that the economic impacts of climate change in the built environment, such as increased energy costs, flood remediation, accelerated degradation of municipal infrastructure, new sea barriers, and climate migration, will be felt unevenly. The result will be a new set of economic and societal pressures that will amplify or alter pre-existing forces of gentrification, urban renewal, and housing security in Canadian cities.


Findings from the GIS modelling work are used to navigate the epistemological and ontological politics of climate justice within a Canadian context. These findings emphasize that multi-dimensional approaches to thought and action are key to ensuring new forms of urban climate policy lead to socially and environmentally just outcomes. Such policies must now also incorporate adaptive capacity initiatives and strategies for urban climate migration in addition to previously existing factors. The initiatives and strategies will need to consider the new climate factors that impact housing security in low-lying coastal cities.