Mayor John Tory visits Winter Stations

Mark Tholen, Jason Wong, John Tory and Mary-Margaret McMahon
Group of students and professor inside Steam Canoe
Tuesday, March 1, 2016 - 5:00am

Environmental Design professor Mark Tholen and his students were applauded by the Toronto mayor and city councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon on Sunday during a visit to the Steam Canoe installation.

Part of the Winter Stations exhibition on the Toronto Beaches, the structure is made of laminated wood panels curved like the prow of a canoe. Solar tubes at the rear of the structure generate fog by turning snow into steam.

Students Curtis Ho, Jungyun Lee, Monifa Onca Charles, Reila Park, Hamid Shahi, Lambert St‐Cyr, Jaewon Kim and Jason Wong worked with Tholen to create and install the temporary shelter.  

The exhibition, themed Freeze/Thaw, consists of seven installations built over lifeguard towers which visitors can enter, climb and interact with. OCAD U, Ryerson and Laurentian University were invited to submit their designs, while international artists and designers were selected via juried submission.    

Freeze/Thaw runs on the waterfront from Woodbine to Victoria Park avenues and continues through March 20.

Professor Doreen Balabanoff will be presenting papers at three upcoming conferences

Wednesday, April 10, 2019 - 12:30pm

1) The first is next week, April 12-14 at York University is entitled: Maternal Wellbeing and Health: Emotional, Physical, Psychological, Social, Spiritual, Cultural, and Environmental


Doreen's  paper is entitled: “Embodied Experience and Birth Environment Design”


She is one of over 100 presenters from 11 countries..."providing a broad and deep perspective on maternal health theories and issues across global configurations".


From the conference organizer:  Bringing together scholars and practitioners who research maternal health and wellbeing...the conference locates maternal health in a cross-disciplinary and cross-geographical context...examining the ethical, political, sociocultural, economic, historical, racial, spiritual, physical, psychological, and environmental dimensions of maternal health...including...the ways in which culturally dominant ideologies about motherhood and health are taught or challenged; ways in which various paradigms of maternal thinking, being, and acting are constructed, negotiated, embedded, enacted, or resisted in specific health and social situations; ways the medical system can empower or disempower mothers...maternal ways of engaging in activism and advocacy work on maternal health from cross-cultural perspectives and on behalf of marginalized and oppressed mothers, childless women, and children.


APRIL 12-14, 2019, York University, McLaughlin College, Toronto

hosted by the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (MIRCI)

led by Dr. Andrea O'Reilly, Professor School of Women's Studies,
Founder-Director: (MIRCI); Journal of the Motherhood Initiative; Demeter Press;
Editor, Encyclopedia of Motherhood, Sage Press, 2010.


2) The second conference is the ACSF 11th annual Symposium on Spirituality and Architecture. It will be held at Taliesin West, May 16-19, 2019, organized by the Architecture, Culture and Spirituality Forum.


Doreen's paper is entitled "Towards a New Architecture for Birth: light and embodied experience in the reimagined birth environment"

Established in 2007, the Architecture, Culture, and Spirituality Forum <> provides an international forum for scholarship, education, practice, and advocacy regarding the cultural and spiritual significance of the built environment. ACSF believes that the design and experience of the built environment can assist the spiritual development of humanity in service of addressing the world’s most pressing issues.

ACSF 11 is structured around the main topic  "Continuity in/of Architecture, Culture, and Spirituality". Three keynote speakers will be renowned architect Will Bruder, Frank Lloyd Wright scholar Michael Desmond, and internationally recognized Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa, the recipient of the 2019 ACSF Award for Outstanding Achievement.

3) The third will be the 14th International Normal Labour and Birth Research Conference <>  June 17th -19th, U of Central Lancashire, at Grange-Over Sands, UK.

Doreen is co-organizer mini-symposium on the topic of birth environment design, with colleagues from the US and Italy, including four papers and a discussion period. This is part of the Global Birth Environment Design Network that I co-founded last year.

Her paper is entitled: "Considering Venustas as a Key to Birth Environment Design"

From the organizers: The conference includes "academics, researchers, policy makers, clinical staff, service users, parents, and birth activists from around the world...Previous events have attracted a wide range of international delegates, from architects to economists, neuroscientists to sociologists, and from those working in maternity care (midwives, doctors, doulas, paediatricians) to those who have experienced it".

Design Career Fair - 2019

Design Career Fair 2019 Logo
Tuesday, March 19, 2019 - 2:00pm to 6:00pm

Tuesday, March 19 from 2 to 6pm 
Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers at OCAD University
115 McCaul Street, 3rd Floor, Toronto

Portfolio Reviews! Talent Recruitment! Networking! Industry Insight! All students and recent alumni are encouraged to attend this event!

On March 19 from 2 pm – 6 pm, students and recent graduates are invited to the newly re-opened Rosalie Sharp Pavilion to connect with a wide range of leading employers who are on the lookout for top creative talent. This is an opportunity to connect with industry seeking emerging OCAD U talent, get feedback on your portfolio and build your professional network.

Some of the participating exhibitors include:

Grip Limited
Konrad Group
Loblaw Companies Limited
Norm Li
PwC Experience Consulting
Spin Master
...and more to be announced!

See more at:

Venue & Address: 
115 McCaul Street, 3rd Floor, Toronto
416-977-6000 x 3848

An Urban Code in Traditional Middle Eastern Contexts by Gamal Mohammed

Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - 8:00am

An Urban Code in Traditional Middle Eastern Contexts: The Edge Environment as a Central Theme for Reading the Social Pattern Language of Historic Sites            

This article discusses a new concept that may help professionals and specialists read the “urban code” of Middle Eastern traditional contexts that was developed from the mix of social aspect and spatial morphology, illustrating how these elements are interconnected in a way that highlights the values and qualities and their reflections on the physicality of the city. This urban code envisions and analyses the relevance of the social pattern language of the traditional context to its urban manifestation, leaning on the “edge environment” as a new generative concept. It outlines the relationship between the ideologies buried underneath the walls of the spatial form of traditional built environment such as Cairo and sheds light on those ideologies in a way that helps us read them within the context of modern values pertained to the sense of community. The notion of the edge environment may contribute to design education restoration, preservation, and upgrading processes as design toolkit that employs careful interventions by fine-tuning the edge environment.                                    

Here is a link to the paper: ).


OCAD U and Ryerson students team up to win Red Bull Basement University Competition

Anna Pogossyan and Temirlan Toktabek. Photo courtesy: Red Bull/Michael Krosny
Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 3:00pm

Anna Pogossyan, a fourth year OCAD U Environmental Design student and her collaborator, Temirlan Toktabek, a fourth year Ryerson University student, are the inaugural winners of the Red Bull Basement University competition. Held in Berlin, the duo competed against students from 16 countries and more than 800 entries.

Their winning creation, Vacant, is a system that allows students to get real-time information on available study spaces across campus. Based on a series of motion-sensitive sensors, Vacant is able to provide accurate data for desk and room availability on demand.

“Vacant allows for a stress-free, plan-ahead and waste-no-time student lifestyle, while providing insights for the universities about its facilities usage,” said Pogossyan. “We thought that implementing a design strategy that incorporates robotics, data collection and infographics is a way to solve this problem.”

Red Bull Basement University is a platform for students to challenge the status quo and co-create to drive change on campus through technology. The competition included four days of inspirational workshops, lectures, mentorship sessions and other activities, wrapping up in a final pitching competition.

The team's next moves are to meet with universities in Canada to run their first pilot and work out the technicalities of the prototypes.

Temirlan Toktabek and Anna Pogossyan. Photo courtesy: Red Bull/Michael Krosny.

Environmental Design Student Anna Pogassyan wins national competition

Anna Pogassyan from OCAD U and Temirlan Toktabek from Ryerson (team) are one of 15 winners of the International Competion organized by Red Bull Basement University and our project will represent Canada at the Global Summit in Berlin!

OCAD U Environmental Design Student Anna Pogossyan heads to Berlin!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - 7:30am

The main goal of this competition was to come up with an idea that would benefit students and campuses around the world. All ideas were presented in short, 60 second long videos, outlining the main problem and a proposed solution in a form of a pitch.

Winning teams from each country are now presented with funding, mentorship, space, tools and materials to further develop their projects and create first prototypes. In our case, we are envisioning it to be an arduino-based motion sensor and an app, reading the information real-time. We understand that technical ins and outs might and will change, so a lot of issues will be resolved during the prototyping stage within the next 30 days.

All winners of Red Bull Basement University Challenge:

Youtube video about Vacant:

More about our project:

Little PDF book that we made:


CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: Student Designer – Design4 Program

Design4 logo
Thursday, August 23, 2018 - 8:30am

Note: Are you a current student who is looking to get paid work experience in design? See below for the link to the application form via the OCAD U Talent Network.
Design4 is a new externally funded initiative that introduces principles of experiential learning into the realm of paid professional opportunities for upper year students in the Faculty of Design at OCAD University, at both the Undergraduate (BDES) and Masters (MDES) levels. Design4 is geared towards current students in the Faculty of Design.

45 students will be selected to participate in Design4 and placed in smaller multidisciplinary groups of 3-4. Each group will be paired with an employment partner in one of the following sectors:

· Start-up/ new ventures (a small business that has just been started)
· SME private enterprise (small and medium enterprises that employ fewer than 500 employees)
· Arts and cultural (social and economic activity that focuses on artistic production)
· Social innovation/ not-for-profit entities (dedicated to furthering a particular social cause or advocating for a shared point of view)

Summary of Responsibilities:

The work will include creating solutions to various design challenges set by the employer. Students will be working on a part-time basis for 10 hours each week per student. Students will have mentorship and support from the employment supervisor, a dedicated Faculty member and a staff member from the Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers.

Where will the work happen?

On campus in the new Rosalie Sharp building (115 McCaul), as well as at the employer’s place of work.

Is this a paid opportunity?

Yes. You will be compensated for your time.

Required documents

  • A 250-word statement explaining why this program would be beneficial to you and outline your design skills and interests
  • Resume (max. 3 pages)
  • Student e-mail, student ID number, program, year of study
  • Provide a link to your portfolio (included on CV or resume)
  • Where you are based (eg address, Etobicoke or downtown Toronto etc)
  • Due to low enrollment at OCAD University, priority will be given to students who identify as Indigenous and/or Black. Do you self-identify as a Black* person or as an Indigenous* person of North America? (Please see definitions below)



If you don't have a web-based portfolio, you can create one for free as a student on Format (

* Indigenous: those who self-identify as Indigenous Peoples of North America or Peoples of Turtle Island. This can include status and non-status First Nations, Métis, and Inuit as well as those with mixed/multi-racial/multi-national identities

* Black: a person who is of and/or a descendant of African peoples AND who experiences systematic racism based on that heritage.

Note: To apply for this job you need to have some documents uploaded to the Talent Network. 


Deadline to apply: September 13, 2018

Call for Submissions - Career Launcher: Come up To My Room 2019

The Gladstone Hotel and OCAD U Career Development are excited to announce the Come Up To My Room Career Launcher. Successful applicant(s) will transform a hotel room into a complete immersive, “otherworldly” environment art installation. In addition to the exhibition opportunity, the Career Launcher recipient will also receive a production grant from the CEAD.

Environment Design students place Third at the Canadian Specification Design Competition

CSC competition winners - third place
Thursday, June 7, 2018 - 7:45am

Three Environmental Design students have placed third in the Canadian Specification Design Competition using their third year Core Design Hotel / Hospitality project " Dark Room" for submission.   



Team: Feeleng Leng, Lily Ni, Tory Wang