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University Advancement | January 2019  

 

Architecture alumna and students build women's shelter

Architectural Science Master’s students visit the site of the North York Women’s Shelter to conduct testing.

Architectural Science Master’s students visit the site of the North York Women’s Shelter to conduct testing. The students are gaining real-life experience through this collaboration with LGA Architectural Partners.

 

A project led by LGA Architectural Partners with the aid of alumna Rachel Law, Architectural Sciences ’16 is an example of how mentorship and experiential learning intersect to the benefit of the greater community.

Law is one of the architects involved in the construction of a new 20,000 square foot women’s shelter in North York which will service women and children impacted by domestic violence. The North York Women’s Shelter will feature therapeutic spaces to support healing and provide programming such as counselling, expressive arts, life skills workshops and more.

“I got to meet with some of the students at a startup meeting on-site,” said Law. “We are happy to have them on the project and to use the building as an in-person learning experience.” It’s an opportunity that Law said she would have welcomed as a student. “We had many courses in building sciences, but this is a very unique experience to see the building start from the foundation up.”

Greg Labbe, building science lab manager at Ryerson, has brought students to the construction site to conduct testing on the building as different phases are complete.

“Testing is a new process that has been introduced in the last few years,” said Labbe. “When it comes to publicly-spent money (the shelter is funded by the province of Ontario), the buildings need to perform.” Moreover, because the shelter is a not-for-profit organization, the team wants to ensure that they are not saddled with high operational and maintenance costs.

Students from Labbe’s team are learning to use the tools to do the assessments in a real-life setting and in return, the architecture firm and the construction team can be reassured that the site has been thoroughly tested and reviewed by master’s level students, noted Labbe. Over the course of the construction, the team will test for things like air tightness, air and water leakage through windows and efficiency of the building envelope.

“There are real tangible benefits for the students,” said Labbe. “They have been able to give input to the architects on materials used, and even with the design component. That experiential learning component can’t be achieved in the classroom.”

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