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Faculty News Update 2019

Posted by Jeremy Sutherland on December 19, 2019 in News
BMLS Smith House
BMLS Smith House

Sarah Bonnemaison

Sarah is currently involved in a large research multidisciplinary project on Living Architecture Systems with Philip Beesley (Waterloo University)  as the principle investigator. The group of researchers range from biologists to industrial design to architect and artists. The aim is to imagine what living architecture can look and feel like. Prototypes of responsive near living systems are on exhibition around the world and are provoking discussions both in the press and in universities. For more information see

In addition, Sarah is creating a series of installations / exhibitions both with her students and on her own. On Dec 6 2019, Giving Voice opens at the Natural History Museum in Halifax and will close on January 26, 2020. Developed with M5 students and the museum curators, this exhibition works off the collection of artifacts and proposes a place to show how they live in the museum.

Susan Fitzgerald

Susan Fitzgerald presented at the Design for Humanity Summit II: Design in the Time of Displacement at Fordham University Lincoln Campus, New York in June, 2019. The Summit aimed to drive humanitarian response in a more dignified, inclusive, and sustainable direction through bridging the expertise of humanitarian and design professionals. It was an opportunity for Susan to share the research she has been doing in Havana, Cuba with Dalhousie University.

In March, FBM Architecture hosted the first Building Equality in Architecture Atlantic (BEA Atlantic) talk to be held in Nova Scotia. Susan gave a lecture “In Between Research and Practice: Diversity and Resilience in Architecture”.

Both the Halifax Central Library and King Street Live/Work/Grow are featured in a recently released book Canadian Modern Architecture, 1967 to the present

Charles Hostovsky, PhD, MCIP, RPP

The School of Planning recently welcomed new Faculty member Charles Hostovsky.

Charles published a chapter in a graduate level planning textbook titled “The relationship between green places and urban society: understanding the evolution and integration of city planning and the ecological sciences”.

Charles was in Cambodia this year and is in the process of publishing his research with his former grad student Sophorn Phal with a small grant from the Cambodia Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction - “Water Resource Management in the Siem Reap, Cambodia Hotel Industry: Towards Sustainable Tourism”.

Dr. Hostovsky presented a paper at the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning 2018 conference in Buffalo, NY “Revitalization without Gentrification: Washington DC and Toronto, a Comparative Evaluation” and was a discussant for a session on waste management planning. He presented the same paper at the 2018 Canadian Association of Geographers, Ontario Division conference at the University of Toronto. Representing Brock University’s Department of Geography and Tourism, he was an invited Panelist at the University at Buffalo’s “What’s Next for Buffalo-Niagara?” seminar.

Dr. Hostovsky is a member of the City of Hamilton’s Clean Air committee ( ) attending monthly meetings and helping to organize seminars for the public towards reducing CO2 and photochemical smog emissions. In June 2019 Chuck was in Holland for two weeks conducting research on bicycle planning and infrastructure in six cities and towns which he will use for classroom teaching. As a consultant he has been conducting peer reviews regarding Aboriginal Traditional Land and Resource Use in Environmental Assessments on behalf of the Six Nations of the Grand River in Ontario for the past 12 years, recently giving expert testimony as a National Energy Board hearing for a gas pipeline.

Dr. Ahsan Habib

Ahsan became the Director of School of Planning in January 2019. He has recently been elected as the Chair of the ‘Climate Change Committee’ of the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) for a two-year term. Dr. Habib had previously been serving as a vice-chair for the committee. TAC is the largest national technical association that focusses on road and highway infrastructure and urban transportation. The ‘Integrated Climate Change Committee (ICCC)’ is one its signature initiatives. Dr. Habib and his team have published 5 refereed journal articles in Transportation Planning and Technology, International Planning Studies, and Transportation Research Record. He presented in the 98th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board (Washington, DC), the 10th International Conference on Ambient Systems, Networks and Technologies (Leuven, Belgium), the 59th Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning Conference (Greenville, SC), the International Conference on Transport and  Health (Melbourne, Australia), the Recreation Nova Scotia Annual Conference (Truro, NS), the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) and Intelligent transportation Systems Society of Canada (ITS Canada) Joint Conference and Exhibition, and the 15th World Conference on Transportation Research (Bombay, India).

Dr. Habib has many plans for future research and recently put forth a proposal as a co-applicant to the SSHRC Partnership Development Grant. This proposal focuses on a multidisciplinary approach to understanding and improving mass evacuations.

Emanuel Jannasch

Emanuel travelled west in February, first to the University of Manitoba as studio reviewer and to speak on Post CAST Concrete, and then to Ottawa to participate in the Canadian Wood Council’s Wood Educator’s Symposium. In September he gave a joint opening keynote at the International Wood Educator's Conference at Laurentian University. His talk contrasted the high-information cultures of wood - both indigenous traditions and his own deeply rural apprenticeship - with the energy-intensive low-information world of industry and colonization. This introduced the partner keynote delivered by Zac Mollica (BEDS ‘12) describing his Master’s work on the Hooke Park Wood-Chip Barn. Zac spoke of its heritage in a 2011 Free Lab run by Emanuel and Roly Hudson that explored post-industrial approaches to timber. Zac is now Warden at the Architecture Association’s Hooke Park Design + Make program.

Ramzi Kawar

Ramzi Kawar is continuing his work at Housing Nova Scotia as Manager of Building Design as well as teaching the International Sustainable Development graduate seminar - in its tenth year. He has also been dedicating his efforts to reduce the energy footprint of the affordable housing portfolio of 11,600 units. Under the Energy Reduction Initiative (ERI) which he started in 2014, three Passive House Pilot projects were completed two of which were certified and received numerous awards. A video describing one of the pilots was produced and can be found here. Ramzi documented the project experience and lessons learnt from these pilots in a chapter in the book Sustainable Real Estate Multidisciplinary Approaches to an Evolving System, pp 347-478. Published by Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

Ramzi is currently leading a CMHC funded research project “Energy Monitoring of Affordable Housing” monitoring the energy use of 8 Passive House buildings and the performance of building envelope enhancements of affordable housing.  Ramzi has also led a team that developed “An Energy Management Strategy for Housing Nova Scotia 2020-2025” that maps out the next phase of energy reduction for affordable housing.

Brian MacKay-Lyons and Talbot Sweetapple

MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects have opened a new office in Lunenburg’s UNESCO World Heritage District. The project called B2 Lofts is named after Dalhousie’s B2 Design studio, taught by Brian for 25 years.   After 37 years as a Dalhousie professor, Brian will be retiring in June 2020. Melanie Hayne and Shane Andrews have recently become owners/principals of the firm.

The firm has won its 7th Governor General’s Medal for Architecture for Two Hulls House. It has received two National AIA Housing Awards of Excellence, for Mirror Point Cottage, and Bigwin Island Cottages in Muskoka; as well as several regional awards.

Brian and Talbot currently hold the Stern Visiting Professorship at the University of Houston. Brian was visiting critic at Yale University in April, and was a juror for the 2019 Architecture League of NY Emerging Voices competition.

Recent public lectures include: Monterey Design Conference Keynote; AIA Mountain West Keynote; International Wood Educators Conference Keynote, Laurentian University; Sutherland School of Architecture Aberdeen, Scotland; University of Houston; etc.

Recent publications include: Architectural Record; The Plan (Italy); Elle Décor (UK); Wall Street Journal; Architect; Dwell; ArchDaily; Dezeen; Wallpaper; Edit; Canadian Modern Architecture (Elsa Lam and Graham Livesy, editors); etc.

The firm continues to design projects in Canada and the US, including custom homes, Beaverbrook Art Gallery, and Queen’s Marque, shown here, a mixed-use waterfront development in downtown Halifax.

Christine Macy

Christine is on leave after eleven years as Dean of the Faculty.  She is enjoying having the time to research and write again and is working on her next book about the relationship between landscape, culture and food in the Maritime provinces.  In February 2020, she will be back in The Gambia for a month, joining colleagues Bertha Johnson (MEDS 2003) and Rohey Jobe (BEDS 2003) in the Bachelor of Community Building and Design program. At the end of her leave, she is looking forward to returning to teaching.  

Roger Mullin

Summer graduate courses in 2018 capped off a 4th comprehensive research studio led by Roger in Iceland.

The work culminated in an exceptional opportunity to build a small forest shelter in a remote area in Mógilsá, Iceland. Many thanks to the Reykjavik Association of Sculptors and the Reykjavik Forestry Association for their support and encouragement. As well, special thanks to School of Architecture Director, Diogo Burnay.

Roger also presented a paper that showcased the McMullen Cottage, a uniq

2019 led Roger into a sabbatical leave where he focused on several writing projects and exhibitions. He looks forward to returning to the school and the classroom in 2020.ue architectural work completed in the late 80’s early 90’s by Elin and Carmen Corneil (Lake Kashagawigamog, Ontario). The ‘Generosity’ conference took place in Cardiff, Wales. The paper, titled, ‘The Fauvist House’ unpacked the design-build methodology of the cottage and compared it to the approach of the early 20th century European painting group known as the Fauves (The Wild Beasts). It also situated the grey and white building in terms of color phenomena (with a focus on color reflection) within the forested site over the seasons and under different lighting and weather conditions.

Steven Mannell

Steven Mannell’s chapter “Environmental Architecture” surveys the development of environmental and sustainable design in Canadian Architecture since 1967. The chapter is published in Canadian Modern Architecture, edited by Elsa Lam and Graham Livesey and published by Princeton Architectural Press in October 2019. The book is the first major survey of Canadian architecture since the 1990s, and features fifteen thematic chapters by seventeen leading critics and historians. Highlights of Steven’s chapter have been presented at several book launch events, including a keynote panel at the RAIC Festival of Architecture in Toronto and a public panel at the Halifax Central Library.

In fall of 2019 the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton hosted Steven’s exhibition “Living Lightly on the Earth: Building an Ark for Prince Edward Island 1974-76.” He was joined by architects David Bergmark and Ole Hammarlund and Beaverbrook curator John Leroux for a panel discussion in October. He organized the Society for Study of Architecture in Canada’s annual conference held in Halifax in May 2019, which brought together over 50 architectural historians and heritage professionals to present papers on the theme of “Heritage, Diversity, and Belonging.” The tour of Halifax heritage sites included the Citadel, the Africville Museum, and Parsons Lumber, finishing at the Shore Club in Hubbards for lobster. Meanwhile, he continues as Director of Dal’s College of Sustainability, which celebrated its tenth anniversary in Fall 2019.

Ren Thomas

Ren Thomas recently finished her research project on Non-profit Housing in Halifax Regional Municipality, which she presented with MPlan alumni Adriane Salah at the Atlantic Planners Institute Conference and at the Metropolis conference with co-investigators Howard Ramos and Martha Radice from the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology.

She continues to work on Barriers and Solutions to Rental Housing in Canadian Cities. BCD Honours student Samiya Dottin helped publish two working papers summarizing the research, and two articles are currently in press in Plan Canada and the Canadian Journal of Urban Research. Ren and Samiya held three workshops for planners, developers, and non-profit housing organizations, including one at the Canadian Institute of Planners conference in Ottawa in July 2019. A video summarizing the first stage of the study was developed by non-profit PLANifax, and can be found here

Ren submitted the manuscript for her book on transit-oriented development, co-authored with Luca Bertolini at the University of Amsterdam, which Palgrave MacMillan will publish in early 2020. She published an article on TOD in Plan Canada in fall 2019. As a Founding Fellow of the MacEachen Institute, Ren was a panelist on LGBTQ housing for older adults, part of a grant led by Jacqueline Gahagan from the School of Health and Human Performance. She was invited to be a panelist at the Future Cities Lab on housing in February and led two webinars on affordable housing, one for the Canadian Institute of Planners and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (June), and the other for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (October).

Photo credit: Lumi Studios

Mikiko Terashima

Mikiko has been busy with activities related to research on accessibility in the built environment.  In October, she presented her recent study conducted in partnership with the Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) and the Nova Scotia Accessibility Directorate to show perceived barriers and benefits of accessibility by the building industry, at the first annual meeting for the Accessibility Professional Network in Toronto, organized by the RHF.  Her research lab finally has a name! —Planning for Equity, Accessibility and Community Health (PEACH) Research Unit.  Currently there are 6 students associated with the Unit and one full-time project coordinator. In November, PEACH launched a speaker series “First-person narratives” to showcase the knowledge and insight about various barriers navigating the built environment by individuals who have the lived experiences, supported by the New Frontiers in Research Exploration program co-funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and Canadian Institute of Health Research.  More lectures from disability-related advocacy leaders are coming in the winter term!

Cristina Verissimo

In the past year Christina presented her office’s work at industry events in Porto and Lisbon Portugal, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador and Chile. She also presented on her research topic at several conferences including a very important conference on the most advance research on Cork material: Conference on Cork in Science and Applications 2019 at the Institut Català del Suro in Spain.

The last two years have been filled with many opportunities to exhibit her research on Cork: New Uses in Architecture Research.  Exhibitions of student work developed in workshops from 2014 to 2016 was featured at Observatorio do Sobreiro e da Cortiça, Protugal, Ponte de Sor Montargil, Lisbon and Ficor, Coruche. 

Her office has been busy with commissions including Edificio-Joao-Saraiva-3, an industrial building refurbishment into office spaces, in Lisbon. They have several very important projects being completed including a public international competition for the students residences at the University of Lisbon, and the Santa Marta 22 Condominium, St. Santa Marta, Lisbon.

New additions:

Prof. Charles Hostovsky, PhD, MCIP, RPP

Charles has joined the School of Planning as an Instructor in Community Design & Planning. Charles is a Registered Professional Planner who has been a practitioner-educator in urban environmental planning for over 30 years. For 2 years prior to coming to Dalhousie he was a Lecturer at Brock and McMaster and spent 5 years in Washington DC on tenure track in the School of Architecture and planning. For 12 year up to 2012 he was a faculty member at the University of Toronto's Geography and planning department and an adjunct at Ryerson.

Professionally he has been a planner with a medium sized Canadian city and the Ontario Ministry and the Environment for 7 years and was with a major consulting firms in Toronto for several years as a senior planner/project manager. For the past 12 years he has been the Consulting Environmental Planner to the Six Nations of the Grand River, Canada’s largest by population and most biodiverse First Nation territory. Chuck holds the 2011 Government of Canada CMHC Award for Teaching Sustainability as well as awards from the Canadian Association of Geographers and the Canadian Institute of Planners.

The School of Architecture ran a successful search for three Assistant Professors in Architectural Design and Practice as well ß Professor, 0.5 FTE.  Please join us in welcoming Cristina Verissimo, Susan Fitzgerald, Michael Putman, and Talbot Sweetapple to our Architecture family! While Christina, Susan and Talbot are not new names, we want to introduce Michael:


Michael Putman, BAS, MArch, DipTech, PgDip, ARB, RIBA, Registered Architect

After studying Fine Arts, Michael studied Architectural and Engineering Technology before completing his Bachelor and Master of Architecture degrees at Carleton University in 2009.

Upon graduation, his interest in materiality and making led Michael to the award-winning firm Haworth Tompkins in London England, where he was involved in several prominent cultural projects including the Bristol Old Vic Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre and Bush Theatre.  In 2015, he gained a Post-Graduate Diploma in Professional Practice and Management in Architecture at the Bartlett, University College London.

In 2018, Michael co-founded SUPRBLK Studio, which creates innovative architecture and installations focusing on imaginative flexibility, expressive materiality and site sensitivity.  Their most recent project, The Biscuit Factory, was a finalist in the international 2019 Dezeen awards and has been widely published, most recently as a feature in ‘East London Homes’ published by Hoxton Mini Press.  Since 2017, Michael has also been teaching as an instructor at universities in Leicester, Bath and London, UK and now joins the Faculty of Architecture and Planning at Dalhousie University. His research interests in design making methodologies and interventions in urban fabric will continue to inform his teaching as well as his design studio.