Waterloo Architecture Masters Thesis Reviews

9:30 AM - 3:45 PM
Organized by:

MS Teams

Poster listing winter final reviews participants

Masters of Architecture Theses
April 2021

Group 1: Rain Maki
9:30-10:45am EST

Supervisor: Val Rynnimeri
Committee Member: Jane Hutton
Int. External: John McMinn
Ext. Critic: Sarah Gunawan

DAIRY GOAT RESEARCH FACILITY: Revealing Process & Provoking Interactions
Committee Member: Jane Hutton
Abstract: Ontario’s dairy goat industry is a growing agricultural sector that seeks to move in a direction that allows it to emphasis animal welfare and a more integrated community. On the other hand, livestock research centres are nowadays an industrial facility with a lot of demands regarding both technological processes and indoor environments. The strong contrasts between food production as a cultural function and food production as an industrial product, resonates with the current design of livestock research facilities. Our needs and day to day activities have been perceived as separate from the cultivation and production of food causing the processes and systems of food to become invisible. These two poles do not exclude each other, but they can mutually complement and create integrated solutions where the technical and social demands inform the architecture during the design process. Food production from livestock can be understood and challenged in a number of ways, from an almost scientific approach orientated to maximum efficiency, to a merely tactile and poetic attitude. The unique behaviour of goats allows for imagination and greater interaction within built environments.
The goal of this Master Thesis is to strengthen the built context of our food system as a manifestation of a set of social and environmental conditions while integrating cultural functions. Using precedents, goat behaviour research, and design explorations, this work seeks to challenge the notion of separation between producer and consumer within the food network, with architecture as the medium for communicating transformed ideas about our relationships with food production, to the building inhabitants, and to the public at large.
The thesis will be demonstrated through the development of key pieces within the herd management, research and public areas of a potential research facility that can act as a catalyst for community, sustainability, and research. The resulting architecture aims to be clear and honest in its expression, providing both carefully designed experiences for the visitors, employees, and animals, while the production itself is efficient and functionally organized. The local land must be respected but refined with an innovative approach to design and technology.


Group 2: Mitchell Martyn
1:00-2:15pm EST

Supervisor: John McMinn
Committee Member: Marie-Paule Macdonald
Int. External: Jonathon Enns
Ext. Critic: Mark Sterling, Maya Desai

What’s Up with the Downtown? A design for the continued usage of North Bay’s downtown. 
Abstract: What’s Up with the Downtown? uses North Bay, Ontario to examine issues of downtown core usage and design in rural North American cities. As malls and box retail have moved to the forefront of physical spaces catering to consumer demand, the contemporary downtown cannot hope to compete at the same level in its current state and must adapt and progress the user experience to regain consistent usage. Past revitalization efforts in North American downtowns have focused on the retail experience, like that of the mall, as opposed to community-based design. In this thesis, the proposed design will focus on three areas of intervention in North Bay’s downtown: wayfinding, pedestrian experience, and community-oriented programming. The proposal will draw information from previously completed master planning exercises by the city and other contemporary pedestrianization and revitalization efforts. The proposal presented in this thesis will challenge the existing ideas of how North Bay’s downtown can be effectively designed to re-establish the space as the city’s core.


Group 3: Steven Lin
2:30-3:45pm EST

Supervisor: Adrian Blackwell
Committee Member: Jonathon Enns
Int. External: John McMinn
Ext. Critic: Mark Sterling, Maya Desai

Collectivizing the Platform: Re-Imagining Hotel Living as an Affordable Housing Strategy in San Francisco
Abstract: This thesis proposes to re-evaluate the role of the Single Room Occupancy Hotel (SRO) typology to aid affordable housing production in San Francisco within the context of Californian techno-dominance. In our platform economy, prop-tech platforms enable the accelerated financialization of rental housing leading to gentrification, unaffordability, and eviction while the conditions of SRO hotels, a historically affordable type of housing, declines. The approach explores theoretical Platform Cooperativist ideas as a method of collectivising the production of housing, drawing from cooperative construction methods on various sites. By collectivising the platform and modes of housing production: labour, land, and capital, digital platforms are retooled to improve maintenance efforts, mitigate vacancy, and densify existing SRO hotel sites. Through a theoretical un-making of platform technologies and a vernacular study of hotel typologies, drawing, mapping, and urban analysis become tools to explore hotel living as a viable alternative for today’s affordability crisis. The proposal intends to increase the availability of affordable units by offering more equitable, socially responsible, living options for the most vulnerable tenants in the city.

Guest Critics

Sarah Gunawan
Senior Designer
CO Adaptive Architecture

Bio: Sarah Gunawan is an architectural researcher and designer whose work explores post-human theory, diverse subjectivities, and entangled environments. She is passionate about an architecture that has the capacity to enrich the urban ecosystem and provide ecological opportunities for diverse non-human species.
She holds a Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Architectural Studies Co-op from the University of Waterloo and was the Peter Reyner Banham Fellow at the University at Buffalo from 2017-18


Mark Sterling
Director of the Masters in Urban Design program
University of Toronto

Bio: Mark Sterling is an architect, urban designer and planner. Mark founded Acronym Urban Design and Planning in Toronto in 2014. Through Acronym, Mark continues to provide public and private sector clients with Urban Design, Land Use Planning and Expert Witness services at a variety of scales.
Mark is an award winning architect, urban designer and planner who is known for his ability to lead and collaborate in multidisciplinary design and planning projects. His expertise in city building at multiple scales, combined with his ability to bring diverse groups of people together, make him a strong guide to the designers with whom he collaborates to build better communities.


Maya Mahgoub-Desai
Associate Professor & Chair of Environmental Design
OCAD University

Bio: Maya Mahgoub-Desai is a researcher and practitioner whose approaches to urban design, planning and design education are informed by her interdisciplinary research interests in public health and healthcare design; cultural narratives and socio-ecological models of urban development; and addressing equity in design through inclusive studio teaching pedagogies.
As the Senior Urban Designer and Planner for the renowned firm of Moriyama Teshima Architects, Maya has led several urban and peri-urban campus, community and municipal plans which focus on sustainable approaches, cultural resilience and a collaborative community engagement process.