What are U of C’s Environmental Design students up to? Part III

MP |

mC:t    2015.04.13


The University of Calgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design is consistently involved in exciting and innovative new projects. These current projects are built around an integrative concept that will engage design students and encourage collaborative efforts through learning, creating, and researching various topics of interest.


These students are the next generation of designers to potentially influence, inspire, and leave their mark on the Calgary architectural industry and the city of Calgary itself.  It is, therefore, of interest to explore what they are learning now, where they find their ideas, and what is influencing their education. How is their curriculum functioning to prepare them for their futures? What thoughts, creative projects, and future directions define the next generation of EVDS students?


I spoke to two other senior architectural design students from EVDS to learn about their projects and what they are producing this term.  This post will showcase some of the current problems presented to students and will describe their responses, critical thoughts and interpretations, creative problem solving strategies, and models of potential solutions. The post will offer a well-rounded glimpse by including summaries of studio platforms as well as collections of student work created so far this term.


Cody Loeffen –  Master’s of Architecture (M2)


Studio overview : The studio is competition based. We have entered three different competitions throughout the semester. An important part of the studio is learning to describe a project effectively for a client or jury.


Specifics about your project: My projects varied in focus, but a main part was examining and diagramming site forces, both tangible and intangible, to produce a starting point for the design. This is not to say that all moves of the architecture were a response to existing site forces. I wanted the architecture to maintain its ability to be affective, both being influenced and influencing.


Quick reflection: This studio has taught me the importance of communicating ideas efficiently, and dealing directly with clients and juries.





Junette Huynh – Master of Architecture (M2)


Studio overview: Our senior research studio focuses on residential housing; particularly, laneway housing that is designed specifically for aging-in-place. Aging-in-place is concept that seeks to design spaces and environments that allow older people to live in their homes and communities for as long as possible. The studio provides students with an opportunity to not only design, conceptually, a secondary suite, but to also engage in a design build. Physically building a 400 square feet home at 1:1 scale offers a unique learning experience that most other studios don’t have. The constructed house will be used after the semester for testing and research to gain a better understanding of spatial living for seniors. Telehealth and telemonitoring technology will be incorporated into the house to examine its effectiveness and how viable a new housing typology may be for seniors living in Calgary.



Specifics about your project: The studio is working on a single project collectively, but my team is responsible for designing the kitchen of the house. We have considered specific details and features into the kitchen that allow an elderly person to live comfortably, all the while maintaining an appealing aesthetic and retaining dignity for the person. Essentially, we are looking to see how we can design the space to work for any age or stage of one’s life. In the kitchen, we have incorporated lighting features that can be tested for effective visibility for an elderly person. Under counter lighting, toe-kick lighting and a backlit backsplash are some of the interesting design we are currently working on. One of the main designs of the house is also a grab rail that is designed into the cabinetry and extends from one end of the house to the other. Without looking institutional, the grab rail will have a functionally properties to support seniors with limited physical mobility, as well as a kitchen and bathroom rod that is seamlessly integrated into the design of the house.



Quick reflection : The studio provides a really unique opportunity to see your designs go from paper to reality.  The ability to build your design from the ground up forces you to examine all the details and tectonic elements of your design. Also, an in-depth studio on housing and domestic living has opened up a broader understanding of what kind of spatial experiences are essential in a home, even in a house that is only 400 square feet. 




JuneA June





Next: Coming soon…
Previous: What are U of C’s Environmental Design students up to?  Part II


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