Since my first visit to Carleton in 1986, I have admired its school of architecture as a place of exuberant exploration, academic integrity, and artistic agency. Now, on my arrival as the new Director of the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism, I find the same commitment to experimentation and invention, enhanced over the past several years by an expanded faculty and student body, the School’s increasing involvement with urban issues and public engagement, and new resources in fabrication and digital technology.
Here at Carleton, students in architecture and urbanism are not afraid to imagine a future that is different from the world of today. The School maintains a strong commitment to Canadian heritage, from the embedded values of first-nation culture, to the advantage of our location in Ottawa, capital of the second largest nation-by-area in the world. From our involvement with renovations to the Houses of Parliament and integration of the rich and diverse neighborhood fabrics of Ottawa and Gatineau into studio pedagogy, to our partnerships with and support from local architectural firms, the Azrieli School has deep connections to the local built landscape. Beyond the local, we investigate and speculate boldly about the fundamental contribution that the practice of architecture can make within an increasingly globalized world. Our GALLERY of studio work makes these diverse scales of inquiry apparent.
Our School has extraordinary assets—the renowned FORUM lecture series, the Directed Studies Abroad (DSA) program for both undergraduate and graduate students, our location in the G8 capital city of Ottawa, our student–edited journal BUILDING 22, and an outstanding FACULTY deeply committed to teaching, research, and public service. As a foundation for all of these strengths, we are extremely fortunate to have a generous gift from the David Azrieli Foundation. The income from the AZRIELI ENDOWMENT makes it possible to expand our programs in the subject of urbanism as architecture’s ‘other half,’ experiment with new initiatives in built conservation, and offer travel opportunities and financial support to the best students from Canada and around the world. We aspire to produce an informed and empowered next generation of thinkers, designers, innovators, and critics of the built environment.
Looking forward, I hope to serve as a catalyst for new connections within the University, between our school and the city of Ottawa, and with other institutions around the world, as we prepare our students to engage architecture and urbanism as fields that contribute to aesthetic, social and ecological advancement.
Jill Stoner, September 2015