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State-of-the-art studios for the architects of tomorrow

Julie Ourceau

Instructor Julie Ourceau, left, and student, in Professor Leila Farah’s class in the new architectural science studio spaces. Photo: Christopher Manson

After extensive renovations over the summer, the David E. Handley Studios opened this month—state-of-the-art design studios that promise to have a powerful impact on the next generation of Canadian architecture professionals.

“In declaring our intention to be a city builder, Ryerson made a commitment not just to build new buildings - but to enrich and contribute to public life in Toronto in broad ways,” says Tom Duever, dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science. “This is just one of the many values we share with David Handley and the team at Cadillac Fairview, and why we are so grateful for their support.”

Led by Cadillac Fairview, industry partners, and friends and alumni, the project honours alumnus David E. Handley, senior vice-president, special projects at Cadillac Fairview, who graduated from Architectural Technology in 1967.

“The David E. Handley Studios will provide our students and faculty with a transformative home base within which to think, study, engage, design, teach, learn, and interact,” says Jurij Leshchyshyn, chair of Architectural Science.

“These are bright and well-appointed spaces, designed for both individual work and collaboration. They'll nurture and sustain a studio culture that is so vital to the educational and social experiences of our students.”

A launch party took place last night to officially open the new studio spaces and honour the 68 businesses that contributed a total of $750,000 towards the renovation.

The Architectural Science building opened in 1981 boasting first-rate facilities. Alumnus David McKibbon, senior vice-president, project management at Cadillac Fairview, remembers it as state-of-the-art when he attended: “However, in 35 years, things in the industry have changed quite a lot.”

Computer work for design fabrication, rapid prototyping and other advances now take their place along with manual drawing and model-building. Educational models emphasize teamwork in the profession, and spaces and furnishings need to offer the flexibility that allows students to readily transition between individual work and collaboration.

Renovations to the original studios will also bridge the past and future of architectural science at Ryerson. “Students studying here today and tomorrow will see that Ryerson has been graduating recognized leaders in the industry,” says McKibbon. “It is a testament to the quality of the program. In fact, David Handley originally hired me and three other graduates from our class, starting our careers in this industry.”

Alumnus Harry Pellow (Architectural Science ’62) brought the idea to honour Handley in this way to Cadillac Fairview. Pellow regards him as a model of excellence over his more than 45 years at Cadillac Fairview.

Cadillac Fairview’s Wayne Barwise, executive vice-president of development led the fundraising committee along with McKibbon, and they found terrific support in the community from a wide cross-section of firms: “For the industry leaders of today helping to develop a premier design studio environment to inspire the future leaders of tomorrow – that’s a neat circle,” says McKibbon.