This is an exciting time at the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism. Now in my third year as Director, I recognize the special qualities of the School that have guided its growth and development since the first class entered in 1968. The faculty is uniquely dedicated to teaching, the students bring a creative energy and a passion for learning about the world. Our remarkable building accommodates design teaching and research, spirited debate and social engagement. We work hard, and we have fun.
Our School’s greatest asset is the Azrieli Endowment, a gift of David Azrieli and the Azrieli Foundation ten years ago. It supports so many special additions to our academic offerings. Just over the past two years, these include:
- Visiting Critics from Modena, Lisbon, Tel Aviv, New York, Minneapolis, Paris and Toronto;
- Studio instruction abroad for our graduate students, in Lisbon, Madrid and London.
- Study tours for undergraduate students in their 3rd year, to such destinations as India, Germany and Japan;
- Entrance scholarships for PhD and Masters students;
- Prizes for Master of Architecture thesis students;
- Stellar international visiting critics for Thesis Reviews;
- Additions to our School library;
- Our annual “Dinner in the Street” celebration, which honours our 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 5th floor of the School, the lab hosts studios in urbanism, and organized its first symposium, “Fluid Infrastructures,” in March 2017.
Our faculty is growing. As a result a faculty search in 2015-16, we welcomed Dr. Catherine Bonier and Professor Ozayr Saloojee last year. Both emphasize the intersection of architecture and urbanism, and are co-directors of the Urban Research Lab. Another search in 2016-17 has resulted in the hiring of Dr. Terri Peters. Dr. Peters has expertise in the areas of building energy and urban housing, both of which are core components of our undergraduate and Masters programs. This year, we are conducting another search, which targets the area of creative architectural practice.
Our signature programs also continue to grow, supplementing our operational budgets and our endowments with additional resources for program enhancement. In summer 2017, we launched “Imagine Architecture”, a short program for high school to experience immersion in the world of design. Our first two Azrieli Continuing Education (ACE) courses for professionals ran in February and May, and another is scheduled for February 2018.
As we begin to plan a major celebratory event for the School’s fiftieth anniversary in 2018, the future of the School seems bright. We continue to expand our horizons: to reengage with our valued alumni, to partner with other institutions locally, around Canada and abroad, and to bring visiting scholars to our School to explore with our students the most provocative questions of our time. Here at the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism, we are not afraid to imagine a world that looks different from the world of today.
Jill Stoner, Director