Jill Stoner, Director of the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism

Jill Stoner, Director of the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism

This is an exciting time at the Azrieli School of Architecture + Urbanism. Now in my fifth year as Director, I am fully committed to the special qualities that have guided the school’s growth and development since the first class entered in 1968. Our faculty is profoundly dedicated to teaching, and our students bring creative energy and a passion for learning about the world. Our remarkable building accommodates design teaching, faculty research, spirited debate, and social interaction. We work hard, and we have fun.

One of the school’s greatest assets is the Azrieli Endowment, a gift of David Azrieli and the Azrieli Foundation 10 years ago. It supports many extraordinary additions to our academic offerings. Over the past four years, these have included:

·      Azrieli Visiting Critics from Modena, Lisbon, Tel Aviv, New York, Minneapolis, Paris, Sydney, London, Capetown, and New York;

·      Studio instruction abroad for our graduate students, in Lisbon, Madrid, London, Capetown, Belgrade, and Sao Paolo;

·      Study tours for undergraduate students in their third year, to destinations such as India, Germany, and Japan;

·      Entrance scholarships for PhD and Master of Architecture students;

·      Prizes for Master of Architecture thesis students;

·      Eminent international visiting critics for thesis reviews;

·      Additions to our school library;

·      Our annual “Dinner in the Street” celebration, which honours Master of Architecture students on the completion of their thesis defense.

The more recent Azrieli Urbanism Endowment has provided resources for the establishment of an Urban Research Lab. Located on the fifth floor of the school, the lab hosts studios in urbanism, and has organized two symposia, in 2017 and 2018.

Our faculty is growing. As a result of a faculty search during my first year, we welcomed Dr. Catherine Bonier and Professor Ozayr Saloojee. Both emphasize the intersection of architecture and urbanism and are co-directors of the Carleton Urban Research Lab. More recently, we hired Zachary Colbert and Jerry Hacker, both active practitioners who relocated to Ottawa from New York and Calgary, respectively. In 2020, we will engage three new faculty members, two in Design and one in Architectural Conservation.

The school’s signature programs – “Imagine Architecture” for high school students, “Studio First” for those with university degrees, and “Azrieli Continuing Education” for practicing professionals – continue to grow. They connect the school to the broader community and provide additional revenue streams to enhance our degree programs and student experience. This school year, we have collaborated with the Sprott School of Business on a “Certificate in Real Estate Development,” and recently offered a course to the City of Ottawa’s planning department called “Architecture for Planners.”

We celebrated our 50th anniversary in 2018, welcoming over 200 alumni back to the school. Many of them have made significant contributions to the new Nan Griffiths Memorial Seminar Room and other current initiatives. Looking ahead, we have engaged LGA Architectural Partners, of Toronto, to develop with us a visionary master plan for the renewal of the architecture building.

The future of the school is bright. We continue to expand our horizons as we collaborate with our talented alumni, partner with other institutions locally, across Canada, and abroad, and invite visiting scholars to explore with our students the most provocative questions of our time. Here at the Azrieli School of Architecture + Urbanism, we are free to imagine new possibilities and a world that looks different from the world of today.

Jill Stoner, Director

January 2020