Stepping stone to architecture

Part of a series profiling graduating students

- May 25, 2011

Holly Simon graduated with a bachelor degree in Environmental Design Studies.
Holly Simon graduated with a bachelor degree in Environmental Design Studies.

Holly Simon grew up on picturesque Prince Edward Island and loved drawing plans and perspectives of buildings. “I dreamt up elaborate houses from our little bungalow and reimagined public buildings—my school, the post-office—converted into other uses,” she recalls.

She completed a degree in visual arts and traveled abroad to explore architecture and languages in Europe and South America. Later, a community-focused course called Leadership Calgary opened her eyes to the issues of human and social development.

At Dalhousie, Ms. Simon has fused her passion for drawing and design with her commitment to humanitarian issues and is graduating with a Bachelor of Environmental Design Studies. The co-president of the Architecture Students Association has nothing but great things to say about her time at Dal.

“The School of Architecture is a close-knit, friendly and collaborative environment,” she says. “The studio culture is fun, challenging and definitely hands-on. It is a truly unique learning experience.”

Ms. Simon wants to be an architect who learns from and contributes to humanitarian causes through the design of housing and public spaces. In 2010, she won the prestigious Berkeley Prize Travel Fellowship and traveled to Pécs, Hungary, to learn first-hand about the opportunities for heritage preservation and adaptive reuse as a catalyst for positive change.

“I’ve always been drawn to the rich and tumultuous history of Hungary and Eastern Europe. My father and his parents fled the country during the 1956 Revolution,” explains Ms. Simon. “I’m passionate about engaging in and creating architecture as a social art. Architecture embodies who we are, where we come from and where we are going as a society.”

As she prepares for the Master of Architecture program at Dalhousie and, ultimately, to launch her career, Ms. Simon looks back on her experience and the role the Faculty plays in the big picture. “The Maritime region has much to gain by engaging and leveraging the good work of the Faculty of Architecture and Planning at Dalhousie. Together we will address both local and global challenges in the built environment.”


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