Thesis Tips & Advice from MArch Alumni: Part Two

Dec 2, 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.

Evan Taylor, MArch 2017


Advice: “It’s your project, so have some fun with how you make and present it. Go get some sleep.”


Thesis: More Stories about Ports and Polar Bears: A Future for Churchill, Manitoba


Advisors: Inderbir Riar



A landmark structure of Churchill, Manitoba and a relic of colonial prosperity in the north, Canada’s only Arctic sea port is reimagined by drawing together themes of nature and technology. Narratives explore future relationships between living beings, buildings and the environment in the advent of an optimistically changing climate.

Zeynep Ekim, MArch 2017


Advice: “Find a way to tell a story and make sure you care about that story.”


Thesis: Ruin-Ophilia: Preserving Cultural Narratives of a Lighthouse through Controlled Ruination


Advisors: Mariana Esponda and Susan Ross



This thesis explores a way to turn ruination of cultural landmarks as a design approach and an alternative way to experience architecture to enable transmission of their larger cultural narratives while the man-made melts into nature.

Andrej Iwanski, MArch 2017


Advice: “It’s much easier to present a project that you’ve enjoyed.”


Thesis: The Great Divide: Citizen Science in the Anthropocene at the Columbia Icefield


Advisors: Inderbir Riar



This thesis seeks to open discussions on historical and future time, and our engagement with the earth through the speculative rediscovery of the Columbia Icefield by means of citizen science. The proposed architectural constructions engage with the landscape, acting as surveying stations that illuminate the changing characteristics of the site.

Matt Hagen, MArch 2017


Advice: “Instead of a formal presentation, give a performance that’s related to your work. Your reviewers are sitting through presentations all day long, so make yours entertaining and memorable!”


Thesis: Other Architecture for Uplifting Gormandizers


Advisors: Yvan Cazabon



This thesis studied Ottawa’s “underground” music scene and how an architect can assist its do-it-yourself ethic. The research culminated in a proposed reconstruction of a partially collapsed building in the heart of Ottawa, whose history of ongoing construction and 10-year neglect became a form of punk camouflage.