MArch thesis project wins 2023 CAHP Student Achievement Award

By Maria Cook

December 19, 2023

The Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals (CAHP) has bestowed the 2023 Student Achievement Award to Melissa Brady for her thesis project on the Waterworks Buildings in Smiths Falls, Ont.


According to the jury, Brady’s proposed design is “a visually impactful adaptive reuse study that considered the needs of the community and carefully analyzed the heritage attributes of the structure, which evolved over time.”

Concept Drawing of exterior views

Brady graduated in 2023 from the Master of Architecture program at the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism. She also holds a Bachelor of Architectural Studies degree from Carleton University.


Associate Professor Mariana Esponda and Professor Mario Santana Quintero supervised Brady’s thesis, From Communal Services to Social Resilience: Creating a New Life For The Smiths Falls Former Water Treatment Plant.


The CAHP awards promote excellence in heritage conservation and highlight the expertise of the association’s membership as heritage professionals. See all the winners here.


Brady is now working as an intern architect at EVOQ Architecture in Ottawa, Ont.

A drawing showing the Interior View with structural details.

Thesis Abstract

The Town of Smiths Falls in Eastern Ontario has experienced both periods of economic growth and decline throughout its history. These economic trends are mirrored in the population’s growth and decline. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the populace of Smiths Falls has increased exponentially with communal resources struggling to keep up.


Once a vital aspect of Smiths Falls’ service infrastructure, the Waterworks Buildings are located adjacent to the downtown. These provincially designated heritage buildings have been left abandoned since 2010 and have experienced substantial deterioration. The buildings are historically significant, as they represent Smiths Falls’ industrial past and evolution.


This thesis explores using conservation practices to address the conditions of the site and its heritage values. Design will be used to explore approaches for adaptive reuse, with the goal of adapting the buildings as a new communal resource for the Town of Smiths Falls in the face of an ever-increasing population.


An exploded drawing showing the layout of each floor