Thesis Tips & Advice from MArch Alumni: Part Three

Dec 3, 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.

Stephanie Murray, MArch 2019


Advice: “Being intensely curious, committed and insightful will inevitably yield interesting results in the long run. The final review can be a summary of your efforts, ideas and insights, it doesn’t need to be (and in many ways can’t be) a conclusion.”


Thesis: Going North: A reflection on lines at the First Canadian Road to the Arctic Coast


Advisors: Ozayr Saloojee



This thesis takes the First Canadian Road to the Arctic Coast as a catalyst and site for investigative inquiry on “the line.” In its many forms, a line is a tool that explores and describes spatial understandings: whether as a physical artifact (the road), in making (maps, notations, and drawings), in storylines (with material consequences) or physical perspectives (as lines of sight); all of which inform thinking and acting. A series of exercises were conducted that meditate and reflect upon the familiar tools of understanding and accessing site.

Matthew Nestico, MArch 2020


Advice: “Lean into your ideas and operate as if your presentation is the entire world for those 15 minutes. Nothing else matters when you are in the spotlight, so curate, synthesize, and trim the fat of your work into one cohesive storyline. Present a story, and let your work speak for itself.”


Thesis: “New” York: A Story of People, Architecture, and Climate Change


Advisors: Zachary Colbert and Jill Stoner



New York City is presented with the effects of climate change at a scale that will manipulate the physical makeup of the city. The inevitable incremental changes brought upon by rising waters and temperatures have resulted in my redrafting of the OneNYC Plan for 2050.

David Anderson, MArch 2019


Advice: “Find something you’re passionate about and dive in as deep as you can; the opportunity to spend a full year of focus and time on a singular project doesn’t come around too often!”


Thesis:  Informality Meets Formality: Luanda’s Urban Transformation


Advisors: Benjamin Gianni



Informed by input from local stakeholders, this thesis offers an architectural response to the need to address Luanda’s extensive slums. Focusing on the transition from lower- to middle-class households, prototypes for low-rise, higher-density housing were developed to accommodate the evolving needs of individuals and families. Drawing on case studies, built projects, and failed attempts of social housing in Luanda and elsewhere, the project provides an economically and socially sustainable roadmap for the phased redevelopment of Luanda’s Cazenga district.

Alisha Kapoor, MArch 2019


Advice: “Treat your colloquiums as a storytelling workshop. Try to lay out the drawings in advance, as a storyboard, and ask students outside your cohort to piece together the meaning without words; if there are gaps in knowledge, add or swap drawings for more clarity.”


Thesis: Mending Women’s Health through Invisible Quilts


Advisors: Federica Goffi



This thesis project sets out to engage and socialize women in Dharavi through a two-fold approach; a mobile sewing facility to empower women-led industry and monetize domestic capital outside the home; and a discrete preventative-health laundry clinic inside to help with hygienic practices and/or counsel during menstruation.