This article is part of a series focusing on the grads of the Dalhousie Class of 2021. Visit our Class of 2021 virtual space to share in the excitement with our newest graduates.
Growing up, Izzie Collier always appreciated architecture from a distance — never really dreaming of becoming an architect herself. But once she realized joining the field would give her the opportunity to blend her love of art and passion for environmentalism, everything clicked.
“I’m originally from England and my family lives in Oxford,” says Collier. “Going to visit and seeing all these beautiful buildings definitely had an effect on me, but it wasn’t until I was figuring out what I wanted to do at university that architecture seemed like a good way to marry my interests.”
After earning an undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto, Collier left her home province of Ontario to live on Vancouver Island for a year. This inspired her to come to Halifax and attend Dalhousie in 2017, where she could further escape the hustle and bustle of big city life and remain by the ocean.
The path to discovery
At Dalhousie, Collier completed the Bachelor of Environmental Design Studies (BEDS) program before going on to do her Master of Architecture (MArch) degree. Experiencing studio culture with her peers was one of the biggest highlights of her studies.
“After being with most of my class from the bachelor’s program to the master’s, we definitely formed a pretty tight-knit community,” she says.
During the summers, Collier and her classmates also had free labs, which gave them the opportunity to get hands-on learning experience through natural building projects. Collier got to work with the Deanery Project, a local non-profit on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore. “It was kind of the perfect antidote to being on a computer all year,” she says.
Throughout her MArch, Collier really began to narrow down her interests in the field of architecture.
“I had always known that I was interested in the more sustainable design side of things,” she says. “But then in my first term of the master’s program here, I took a course offered by a local firm in Halifax called Solterre Design. It was all about net-positive architecture, harnessing natural energy and designing more resilient buildings. That term really equipped me with the strategies to pursue sustainable design.”
Having completed her MArch from Dalhousie this spring, Collier’s next plan is to become a licensed architect and develop sustainable design methods that challenge the western-centric approach often taken in her field.
“One of the big things I learned is that students are responsible for seeking out other voices and opinions that you might not be presented with through your program or institution,” she says. “Not being afraid to seek out other ways of knowing things or less conventional approaches to research can really strengthen and add to what you learn in university.”
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