CCA Master’s Students Program

The CCA’s Masters Program encourages students at Canadian architecture schools to take up urgent questions of public relevance to the built environment in Canada and beyond. Through a three-month collaborative project at the Study Centre, participants actively engage with the CCA’s collection, participate in seminars and other pedagogical activities, and articulate their own understanding of architecture as a public concern.

In the Postcolony: Everyday Infrastructures of Design

The summer of 2020 marks the beginning of “In the Postcolony,” a three-year thematic cycle that will examine how architecture and urbanism continue to respond to the long echoes of colonial practices of spatial dispossession. Each summer a group of three Masters researchers will narrow their focus to a particular territory that continues to be subject to what Achille Mbembe describes as the resonances of the “banality of power”—everyday infrastructures that shape public life. Spanning geographies and time scales, the thematic cycle will articulate the complicity of architectural and urban design in colonial, settler-colonial, and postcolonial power dynamics, while also offering emancipatory potential through the projection of more equitable spaces of public engagement.

In the Postcolony I: The Swimming Pools of Nunavut

On 29 July 2019, the indoor community pool in Iqaluktuuttiaq (Cambridge Bay), Nunavut, closed early for the season. The hamlet deemed the structure unsafe due to structural issues. Weakened by wear and thawing permafrost, the thirty-year-old facility is emblematic of the fate of many community pools across the Territory of Nunavut, where drowning rates are well above the national average, particularly for youth. As global warming renders Arctic sea ice more unstable and unpredictable, and as existing public recreation centres decay, the need for equitable access to community-funded aquatic spaces has risen. Swimming pools are thus contentious and timely sites for thinking about what it means to provide public access to full bodily immersion in water.

During the summer of 2020, the CCA Masters Program award recipients will turn their attention to how the design, building, and maintenance of aquatic recreation spaces across Nunavut raise important questions for postcolonial understandings of public infrastructure; northern-defined forms of fitness and recreation; and the environmental impacts of creating volumes of warm water in cold climates. In collaboration with invited northern and southern architects, artists, scholars, and activists, selected participants will craft critical media that highlight the possibilities and politics that aquatic architectures hold across Nunavut.

This program is generously supported by the Power Corporation of Canada.

2020 Participants

Misca Birklein-Lagassé
University of Toronto, Canada

Zaven Titizian
University of Waterloo, Canada

Ally Pereira-Edwards
Carleton University, Canada


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