Dinner in the Street 2024: Celebrating our MArch Graduates

April 30, 2024


Master of Architecture students celebrated their theses defenses — the culmination of years of hard work — on April 25 at the school’s traditional Dinner in the Street, which honours those graduating from the professional program.


About 85 people attended the joyful event at the Architecture Building, including 41 thesis students plus faculty, staff, visiting reviewers, and donors.

“I’m really impressed by the range of projects that you’ve all been working on, but also by the way in which your supervisors support you through your endeavors,” said Director Anne Bordeleau, noting some students took on stories of dispossession and forced migrations of different peoples around the world.


“Fundamentally, architecture is a form of civic and public intervention that must be relevant to broader civic and public intervention,” said Dr. Bordeleau.


“As I walked around the school over the past few days, looking at so many theses, I found many of those projects to precisely do this —addressing shared concerns, getting to know land, different generations, salmon, contested heritage, neurodiversity, climate, aging, dementia, the need for housing and so much more.


“There’s a lot of critical and urgent work ahead,” she added. “The questions that your theses tackled, and the ways in which you approached them leave no doubt as to the role that you can play in bringing about the change that we need.”

Alexis David was one of four students nominated by the Class of 2024 to deliver remarks. “I’m so grateful to have an opportunity for his master’s degree,” she said. “We have the power to reshape environments in front of us. Let’s keep exploring, challenging the norms, and reimagining the unimaginable.”


In his talk, graduate Arkoun Merchant highlighted unexpected opportunities such as participating in the Action Lab, working at the Carleton Immersive Media Studio (CIMS), and deciding to continue his studies at Carleton, where he had earned a BAS (Conservation & Sustainability).


“I remember not feeling too excited by having to do the three-year stream of MArch,” he said. “I had the option to do two years at another school but chose Carleton for its faculty and travel opportunities. Little did I know that it would be one of the best decisions of my life.


“I spent the first year exploring different and wacky ways of representation and I think it was the first time I ever truly fell in love with design. More importantly than that, I made some lifelong friends.”


Graduate Derek Clouâtre reflected on the difficult decision to leave a secure government job with a two-year-old at home “to take my shot at architecture.”


Clouâtre acknowledged supportive family, faculty, and friends in achieving this milestone. “I couldn’t have made it to today without a super strong support system at home,” he said. “It was a group effort, and that group includes all of you as well.


“I’m excited about what’s next,” he added. “For those pursuing licensure, we still have a few hoops to jump through, hours to accumulate, and exams to write. But guys, we’re about to start creating real buildings.


“If I can leave you all with one little nugget, it’s to remember that we’re doing this for people. The design decisions we make and the types of spaces we create will directly impact the lives of people we’ll never meet. But they’ll rely on us to have their best interests at heart.” 

Finally, graduate Harrison Lane, a cabinet maker, furniture designer, and educator, explained why he chose Carleton’s architecture program.


“I spend my life doing the pragmatic — screwing boxes to the wall,” he said. “And, I’ve had enough of that. I want it to be in this place of visionaries, of people who are challenging the future.”


He thanked his fellow students for “being the best and the kindest” as well as faculty and staff. “It was a beautiful time. And we will all cherish this.”


Chef Toni Kadamani, of Carleton University’s Dining Services, prepared the delicious meal for Dinner in the Street, which included duck breast, grilled tofu, eggplant confit, pan-fried little potatoes, mushroom and cabbage slaw, and a trio of desserts — crème brûlée, truffles, and macarons.


The evening’s program included a photo booth where graduates gathered in groups to capture the special moment with friends.


Associate Professor Lisa Moffitt, chair of the MArch program, also addressed the gathering.


“I hope you’re all emerging from thesis as fuller humans with expanded critical thinking and making skills and within enlarge capacity to make sense of the world, and our agency as spatial and material thinkers within it,” said Dr. Moffitt.


“This intensive time of inquiry is truly an intellectual gift, and one that may remain unmatched throughout your life,” she said.


“While the process will present roadblocks along the way, as all important life experiences do, we sincerely hope it also brought you a level of joy and satisfaction, only possible through sustained commitment to a project that you sincerely care about.”