BAS 2021 Graduation: Crossing into a future “full of dazzling promise”

July 30, 2021

More than 120 guests gathered on Zoom on June 24, 2021, to celebrate the graduation of 60 students from the Bachelor of Architectural Studies program.


The event included an address from then-Director Jill Stoner, speeches by faculty members and graduates, and an awards presentation. It also provided an opportunity to acknowledge PhD graduates and retiring and departing faculty.


In addition, student Sediqa Haqani prepared a 10-minute video collage of student memories. See it here:


Director Jill Stoner


“Though we see you tonight on our home screens, in our minds you are striding across that wide convocation stage, smiling into a sea of a thousand faces as you cross into a future yet unknown but full of dazzling promise,” said Stoner, whose term as director ended July 1.


“Many of you challenged me directly to acknowledge and address a previously uncontested pedagogy, to bring more decisive accountability and action to our own enterprise, in fact, to foreclose on our complicity in constructing an often-unjust world,” she said.

As graduates, “now you have the literacy through which you can debate the wicked questions and rewrite some of those spatial codes. You can insist that to get back to the old normal is not good enough; that, in fact, there can be no return.” Read the speech.

Associate Professor Janine Debanné


“I’m proud of you,” said Debanné, who spoke from Bordeaux, France. “You not only completed a university degree, but you completed a Bachelor of Architectural Studies, which is a demanding program because it stretches a person right down to their core.


“You had to learn to receive and digest criticism about your work; you developed patience and practiced critical reflection. Sometimes, when you thought you had a perfect solution and finished drawings, you accepted new questions, incorporated new considerations and perspectives, and allowed what, for a time you believed to be the perfect design, to be destabilized and reworked.” Read the speech.

Associate Professor Mariana Esponda


“After almost 16 months of challenging circumstances, all of you have shown creativity, flexibility, perseveration, a sense of responsibility, and resilience to a continuously changing context,” said Esponda.


“These skills are an inspiration and give me confidence that you will achieve any goal in your life, however difficult that could be, only your HARD WORK and your PASSION will make you accomplish all your dreams.” Read the speech.

Associate Professor Benjamin Gianni


You are fortunate to be graduating when you are,” said Gianni. “The economy is strong, offices are hiring, and the range of work that is going on out there is staggering. The rate and fashion in which our cities are growing are giving architects the opportunity to work at scales that are virtually unprecedented. Large portions of cities are being torn apart and rebuilt as we speak.


“In a very literal sense, you have the chance to shape the future. I encourage all of you to bring your amazing skills and energy to bear on making the world a better place.” Read the speech.

Professor Federica Goffi

“You have all proven yourself beyond the tasks of a final year in an architecture school,” said Goffi, who became interim director on July 1. “You have shown resilience, camaraderie, and the ability to support one another and yourselves through an unexpected challenge that has affected many of us, our friends, and families in many and different ways.

“We, as a school, are so pleased with your achievement, and I personally feel privileged to have had the opportunity to be on your educational path which will continue beyond the academic world, through practice, and for many additional academic studies too.” Read the speech.

Assistant Professor Piper Bernbaum


“This class has a lot of interest in the collective,” said Bernbaum. “This class knows that we are only strong when we are together and when we build a home together. Home is a privilege, but home is also a necessity and a right, and you as architects, as new graduates from the program, have the responsibility and the ability to make community a priority.


“I tell you this because I have witnessed the communities you have made at Carleton. I have seen you design them. I have seen you build them with your peers and through extracurricular programs. You are strong voices that can make change, that can consider architecture as an inclusive practice.” Read the speech.

Associate Professor Johan Voordouw


Associate Professor Johan Voordouw, the associate director for undergraduate studies, sent a recorded message. 


Odessa Boehm


The consistent love and support you give to each other is a true strength and is what has gotten all of us here today,” said Boehm.


“Whenever you entered studio, you knew you were not alone and that you had the entire class rooting for you, pushing you, and wanting you to do your best. If you needed anything, there would always be someone to share their drawing supplies, their space heater, or be willing to pick you up a snack if you were hungry. And I hope that in the future, you continue to support and care for each other and check in on one another no matter how much time has passed.” Read the speech.

Federico Lacasia


“We had high highs and low lows, but we’re here now with our diplomas,” said Lacasia.“We lost hours of sleep. We sacrificed our health. Some of us came close to dropping out, or maybe just me. Some of us leaned on our friends. I know I did. We had great crits. We’ve had devastating crits.  But here we are, we did it. We have to be proud of every single detail, every single struggle because it wasn’t easy.” Read the speech.

Abir Makki


“Overall, the architecture school experience is really so unique from other programs; being a close-knit community, we are able to work closer together and do activities within and outside our field, which helped us build a lot of meaningful connections,” said Makki.


“The urbanism studios were especially enjoyable with every instructor we had, who always put 1000 percent of their patience, dedication, and wisdom to give us the richest studio experience.” Read the speech.

Enid Huang


“Our studios throughout the years weren’t just a place for work, but a barbershop, a music festival, (thanks Colton), an excavation site, a place that held the world’s most expensive snowflakes – apologies Steve and the Fab Lab again – we had no idea about how much it laser cutting cost in first year,” recalled Huang.


“Our friendships are what helped us through the years and made school so worth it. I hope in the years to come, wherever we are and whatever we’re doing, we can look back at our architecture years and know that it was mainly filled with happy, funny, and weird moments that we had inside or outside of studio.” Read the speech.

Retirements and Departures

BAS 2021 graduate Federico Lacasia spoke about Associate Professor Roger Connah, who has retired.


“I still remember the first Introduction to Architecture class expecting to learn about drafting or line weights or structures. And then, Roger played “We didn’t start the fire” and told us to write down every name we recognized. I was confused, I was surprised, and I was excited.  After that class, I always looked forward to Roger’s classes as a highlight of the week.”  Read the full remarks.


BAS 2021 graduate Angelica Ruiz Rodriguez spoke about Associate Professor Yvan Cazabon, who has retired.


“Professor Yvan created a space for genuine connection and empowered creative exploration, allowing us to bring our whole unfiltered selves to class, and further encouraging us to express it in the goal of theatrical innovation.” Read the full remarks.


Associate Professor Ben Gianni paid tribute to Jill Stoner, whose term as director has ended.


“I can attest to the fact that Jill has been on call 24 hours a day for the last six years – not out of obligation, but out of a remarkable sense of dedication to the school – to its growth, wellbeing, reputation. It is largely due to her vision and creativity that we’ve been able to navigate the numerous challenges, changes, and opportunities that keep coming our way.” Read the full remarks.

PhD Graduates


Professor Federica Goffi paid tribute to two graduates of the PhD program.


Dr. Pallavi Swaranjali defended her dissertation in December 2020. Her dissertation is titled The Subjunctive Pause. The Nature of Architecture and its Representation in the Works of Indian Architect Balkrishna Doshi. 


“Swaranjali’s dissertation makes an important contribution to the knowledge of the history and theory of architecture through rigorous, in-depth study of the work of the 2018 Pritzker Prize-winning architect,” said Goffi.



Dr. Jorge Rivera Gutierrez defended his dissertation, titled The Affective Threshold; or the Sensational Account of Place Through Film, in December 2020. His research focuses on exploring the capacity of film to convey the experience of place, and in turn, a means to inform architectural thought and imagination. 


Goffi noted that his research was recognized by a four-year Ontario Trillium Scholarship.


Undergraduate Awards


Nicholas Scolozzi Award

Awarded to outstanding students in the fourth year of the BAS program


Recipients: Jessica Babe, Odessa Boehm, Isabelle Cote



Canadian Institute of Steel Construction Award

Given annually to students who explore the use and design of steel in their studio work


Recipient: Calista Loten



Ottawa Regional Society of Architects Award

Recognizes service to the school


Recipient: Federico Lacasia



Alpha Rho Chi Award

Recognizes a student for contribution to the community of students, staff, and faculty at the school


Recipient: Enid Huang



University Medal 

For outstanding academic achievement


Recipient: Jessica Babe



Senate Medals

For outstanding academic achievement


Recipients: Calista Loten, Isabelle Cote



Graduate Awards


Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Medal

Given annually to a graduating student who has achieved the highest level of academic excellence


Recipient: Laura Clark



Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Honour Roll

Recognizes graduating students with high academic averages


Recipients: Laura Clark, Luke McElcheran, Shelby Hagerman, Brooke Zacharuk



American Institute of Architects Henry Adams Certificate of Merit and Medal

Awarded to the graduating student with the second-highest academic average


Recipient: Nicholas Bava


Ontario Association of Architects Guild Award

Given to a graduating student in recognition of exceptional work and leadership through design excellence combined with innovative approaches to sustainability


Recipient: Sinan Husic



Master of Architecture Leadership Excellence Award

Awarded to a graduating student who has demonstrated continued service excellence and commitment to the school throughout their graduate studies


Recipient: Fiki Falola



Master of Architecture Thesis Distinction Award

Awarded for excellence in thesis design work


Recipients: Rehab Salama, Camille Ringrose, Catherine McBain, Shannon Clark, Kimberly Wint, Kristine Prochnau


Honourable Mentions: Gregory Juneau, Laura Clark



Watch a recording of the graduation ceremony here: