OCAD U alumnus awarded Peter Prangnell Travelling Scholarship

Monday, April 3, 2017

Parham Karimi (BDes, Environmental Design, 2013), master’s student at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture at the University of Toronto, has been awarded a scholarship to fund a study trip to Morocco.

This scholarship will allow Karimi to travel and meet with stakeholders and conduct further research for his thesis project titled “Women’s multipurpose co-op program of Mesti (Morocco): space, power and difference.” The project examines the issue of space dichotomy in Islamic societies, craft and materials and women’s co-op programs in Iran and Morocco. The government of Morocco will collaborate with Karimi to complete the project. 

His brother, Pedram Karimi (BDes, Environmental Design, 2016) has also been admitted to U of T's Master of Architecture program. This term, five OCAD U students were admitted to the U of T Master of Architecture, an unprecedented number of OCAD U admissions to a single program.  

The Peter Prangnell Award provides travel funds to students enrolled in the Daniels faculty at the U of T. The award is given on the basis of financial need and the merit of the applicants’ proposals. The award funds travel to a specific location where the student will remain for a minimum of a week to study the way architecture, landscape, urban design, or some other aspect of the human-built modeled environment shapes and/or is shaped by everyday life.


Roberto Chiotti

Roberto Chiotti is principal of Larkin Architect Limited, an award-winning firm specializing in the design of Sustainable Sacred Space. He completed his B.Arch. degree in 1978 and his MTS graduate degree from U of T's St. Michael's College, in 1998, with a specialty in Theology and Ecology. In 2003, he achieved his LEED AP and is a founding member of the CaGBC's, GTA Chapter. His firm's widely published St. Gabriel's Church was the first building in Toronto to achieve LEED Gold Certification and is the recipient of the 2007 City of Toronto Green Design Award.

Mark Tholen


Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Design

Chair, Material Innovation Centre @ OCADU 

Doreen Balabanoff

Doreen Balabanoff is an artist, designer and educator/administrator whose personal work and research has increasingly focused on environmental colour and light as potent aspects of experiential architecture. In 2017 she completed a practice-based PhD at University College Dublin School of Architecture.

Colleen Reid

Colleen Reid was born in Toronto and currently lives in Hamilton, Ontario. Colleen is an Associate Professor, a practicing architect and a practicing artist. At present Colleen is the Associate Dean, Academic Affairs in the Faculty of Design. In the past Ms. Reid has acted as Interim Dean in the Faculty of Design (2008) as well as Assistant Dean for six years (2001-2007) and Chair of Environmental Design (2000). Colleen has been a faculty member at OCAD University since 1994. In the past, Ms.

10: Sharp Centre for Design Anniversary Exhibition

Janie Reed, Feet First, 2003. Digital print, 7 x 9 in. (18 x 23 cm).
Thursday, November 27, 2014 - 5:00am to Thursday, April 9, 2015 - 4:00am

It’s been called “courageous, bold and just a little insane”. 10 years, later, the Sharp Centre for Design continues to make a bold statement. This exhibition celebrates the Sharp Centre for Design’s first decade with works inspired by its bold and lively presence.

Curated by Janna Eggebeen.

Special thanks to Will Alsop Design and ALL Design, Scott Hillis, Hadley Obodiac, and Caroline Robble.


Sharp Centre for Design, OCAD University, design and construction 2000 to 2004



  • Alsop Architects with Robbie/Young + Wright Architects Inc.
  • Carruthers & Wallace Ltd. and MCW Consultants Ltd., structural engineers
  • Peter Caldwell, Executive Vice President, OCAD U Project Steering Committee
  • Rosalie and Isadore Sharp, benefactors

Building Facts:

  • centerpiece of a $42.5 million campus redevelopment project
  • 6,215m2 of new studio, workshop, office and classroom space
  • tabletop is 80 metres long by 30 metres wide, 10 metres high, and 26 metres above ground
  • structural system is an intersecting grid of steel Vierendeel trusses
  • cladding is white aluminum tiles with a random pattern of black tiles
  • concrete core contains elevators and 15 flights of stairs
  • 12 tapered rainbow-hued steel columns, each 28 metres long by 0.914 metres in diameter
  • each pair of columns is bolted to three caissons buried 18 metres below ground


  • Worldwide Award, Royal Institute of British Architects, 2004
  • Engineering Award of Excellence, Ontario Region Steel Design Awards, Canadian Institute of Steel Construction, 2004
  • Award of Excellence, Toronto Architecture and Urban Design Awards, 2005
  • Most Technically Innovative Project, Canadian Consulting Engineers Awards, 2005
  • HUE Award (to Will Alsop), Benjamin Moore, 2006


Architect Will Alsop unorthodox design process begins with abstract paintings and community workshops that encourage a blue-sky conceptualization of the project. At OCAD U, this non-linear, collaborative and ad hoc approach was by turns contentious and serendipitous. By March 2001, the three towers concept represented in the model had morphed into the tabletop, which maintained the neighbors view of Grange Park, opened up stunning panoramas from the studio windows, and provided a new space for play: Butterfield Park.

The playful transformation of ordinary materials into lively objects shows a similar irreverent and experimental spirit.

  1. Alastair MacLeod, workshop drawing, January 2001. Gouache on newsprint. OCAD U Archives.
    Alastair MacLeod is a visual artist and OCAD U Director of Information Technology Services.
  2. John Kissick, workshop drawing, January 2001. Gouache and pencil on newsprint. OCAD U Archives.
    John Kissick was Dean of the university Faculty of Art from 2000 to 2003. He is now Director of the School of Fine Art and Music at the University of Guelph.
  3. Greg Woods, workshop drawing, January 2001. Gouache and pencil on newsprint. OCAD U Archives.
    Greg Woods was an architect at Robbie/Young + Wright and the lead project architect for the Sharp Centre for Design.
  4. Will Alsop, early tower model, January 2001. Perspex and plywood.
  5. Will Alsop, Really Almost There + Sex study, January 2001. Digital print.
  6. Lorraine Kwan, The Pencil Box, mixed media.
    Lorraine Kwan is an OCAD U alumna and mixed media artist in Vancouver.
  7. Rob Shostak, Sharp costume, 2004. Mixed media.
    Rob Shostack is an architect with Quadrangle Architects, Toronto.
  8. Sarah L. Mulholland, Squishy Sharp Centre, 2009. Knit object.
    Collection of Peter Caldwell.
    Sarah L. Mulholland is an OCAD U alumna and the university Social Media Officer.


The construction of the Sharp Centre for Design was very condensed in time and space. It was a feat of controlled chaos and technical innovation that took place over an 18-month period while classes were in session on a dense urban site. For first-hand observers, the building process and the bold animal-mechanical structure that took shape became a source of inspiration.

  1. ALL Design (Will Alsop), Sharp Centre for Design model, 2011. Metal.
  2. Terri Meyer Boake, Sharp Centre for Design construction time-lapse video, 2002 to 2004.
    Terri Boake is a Professor of the School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo whose specialty is steel construction.
  3. Janie Reed, Look Up! triptych, 2003. Digital print.
  4. Janie Reed, Feet First, 2003. Digital print.
    Janie Reed is an OCAD U alumna and mixed media artist in Toronto.
  5. Gregory P. McRoberts, Lego Sharp Centre for Design, 2009. Lego.
    Greg McRoberts is an OCAD U alumnus and mixed media artist in Toronto.


The Sharp Centre for Design unique pixelated cladding was the outcome of an intense endgame between OCAD U and Will Alsop. The cladding was especially important to the building impact as it would be visible not only on the building exterior walls but also its underside. The architect advocated for a colorful patterned surface of lighted glass panels a decorative tablecloth for the tabletop that would camouflage the building large mass and enliven the streetscape both night and day. The university argued for a more economic and pragmatic choice, and, after Alsop threatened to paint the entire exterior black, a successful compromise was reached with syncopated black spots that added to the completed structure animated character.

  1. Will Alsop, Void of Opportunity study, 2001. Digital print.
  2. Edmond Rampen, OCAD Uke, 2013. Wood. Collection of Christine L. Bovis-Cnossen.
    Edmond Rampen is a professor of Fabrication Studies at OCAD U.
  3. Otino Corsano, Oeuvre, 2006. Enamel on Plexiglas.
  4. Otino Corsano, Big Crossword, 2006. Enamel on Plexiglas.
    Otino Corsano is an OCAD U alumnus and visual artist in Toronto.
  5. Pearlamina Cheung, Fly High, 2014. Silver ring, earrings, and pendant.
    Pearlamina Cheung is an OCAD U alumna, a jewelry designer and Assistant Art Director for the Director Guild of Canada in Toronto.
  6. Christopher Hutsul, OCAD University, 2004. Serigraph.
    OCAD U Collection.
    Christopher Hutsul is an OCAD U alumnus and an artist and filmmaker in Toronto.
Venue & Address: 
Anniversary Gallery, 100 McCaul St.
Janie Reed, Look Up! Triptych, 2003. Digital print, 10 x 32 in. (25.4 x 81.3 cm).
Embed Video: 

Inclusive Design Hackathon

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 - 4:00am to Thursday, October 13, 2016 - 4:00am

Want to Play around? The Inclusive Play Design Hacakthon runs at DEEP from Oct. 12- Oct. 13. We will showcase the inclusively designed projects at the DEEP Reception on Oct. 13.

All results will also be shown at Canada’s Design & Architecture Show:  IIDEX 2016


Venue & Address: 
Room 104, 49 McCaul St
416 977 6000 x 3967

Grand Opening of Six Nations Dajoh or Youth and Elders Centre

Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 6:00pm

Designed by Colleen Reid, Architect, Associate Dean, Faculty of Design, the 17,000 sf Six Nations Youth & Elders Centre design has been developed to reinforce the support of youth and elder needs for recreation within the context of the overall Six Nations community culture, the creation of spaces that support the positive interaction of all community members and guests, and the reflection of and respect for the rich history of Six Nations.

The project provides space for community, particularly youth and elder, events and drop in, as well as a full gymnasium, meeting rooms and support offices.

This new centre is part of a thriving community facility which ties into a community centre and arena.

Venue & Address: 
4th Line Road, Ohsweken, Six Nations, Ontario

Ecotecture: Bigger, Bigger, and more Desperate

Friday, November 7, 2008 - 12:00am to 3:00am

DeLeon White Gallery in Toronto presents new works by Marcia Huyer, Karen Kraven, and alumnus Gareth Bate, curated by Colin Kent and Joanna Sheridan.

Bate will be creating a large scale wall and window drawing in honey of the roman coloseum, relating to the fragility of civilization.

Venue & Address: 
DeLeon White Gallery 1139 College Street, Toronto, Ontario