Thesis Tips & Advice from MArch Alumni: Part One

Nov 23, 2022

Master’s students at the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism have one major assignment in their final year — to produce a thesis project through design and writing.


For many thesis students, who have spent the past one to two years learning online, the return to in-person thesis reviews and discussions is a new experience. They are now gearing up for Colloquium 2 on December 8 and 9, when all 45 students will present in-progress work at the Architecture Building.


The following alumni have graciously shared their thesis work, as well as candid advice, with current MArch students as they advance their work to the end of the fall term.

Kamila Lukus, MArch 2017


Advice: “Layout your drawings as a storyteller, in a narrative to help explain your design and process.”

Thesis: Liminal Crossing: Venice Between Time and Space

Advisors: Jill Stoner and Ozayr Saloojee



What lies between a city’s present and its future? The first is a liminal space, the second is a liminal time. Venice has many simultaneously occurring cities. Since the 1960s, Venice has seen an exodus of its residents. This thesis explores the third city through the cruise ship that is neither local or tourist, floating between the city’s present and its future.

Michael Yoshimura, MArch 2020


Advice: Be passionate about what you are doing, and enjoy the moment(s). Keep in mind that each review is really a conversation despite it being called “defense.”


Thesis: Shotengai


Advisors: Johan Voordouw and Phuong-Trâm Nguyen



The thesis uses the medium of the science-fiction short film to address the potential of architecture to narrate the contemporary notion of Shinto techno animism. Shinto animism, traditionally found within elements in nature, has been translated in contemporary Japanese technological culture into techno-animism. The site for this short film is in a shotengai – a local street market. Here, the shotengai urban typology becomes the architectural trope and catalyst from which the thesis explores the relationship of techno-animism’s implications on space.

Courtney Klein, MArch 2017


Advice: “While the thesis review might feel like a daunting endeavour, if you’ve made it this far in your architectural education, you’re likely ready for this final step. All your previous crits, presentations, and colloquia have well-prepared you for this moment, so treat the day as a celebratory culmination of your time at Carleton, rather than some kind of incredibly ominous test.”


Thesis: Fun Mills: The Interactive Adaptation of a Post-Industrial Economy


Advisors: Johan Voordouw



This project proposes the transformation of unused cotton mills into a network of interactive textile labs, to bridge a sharing economy between manufacturing, knowledge, and service industries. Similar to notions of the Fun Palace, the buildings acknowledge indeterminacy by allowing reconfiguring forms to adapt to the continuous progression of technology.