Industry witnesses high calibre talent of architectural technology students at George Brown College

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The leaders of Ontario’s architecture and building industries got to observe the best and brightest talent from George Brown College through a student competition held by the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA).

The annual Student Awards for Technical Excellence in Architectural Technology is a competition run by the OAAAS’s technology program, Ontario Association for Applied Architectural Sciences (OAAAS), which recognizes exemplary architectural design projects that demonstrate technical excellence in architectural technology. Among the entries was a George Brown student project that earned first place in the group category for its design of a Toronto waterfront condominium called The Refinery. The awards are open to architectural technology post-secondary students completing their final year project.

“Our students were chosen because their drawings were at a high level, and they were the kind of drawings that industry seeks in its business practices. Our students do what the industry needs for them to do when they actually get jobs,” says Marlene Slopack, Architectural Technology program instructor.

The concept for The Refinery is a nine-floor, approximately 100-unit condo with a modern, edgy design that features angled glass walls. A key part of the design is the integration of elements that pay homage to the sugar refinery that once graced the site. To that end, the design includes white paneling on some parts of the glass surface to suggest the look and feel of sugar crystals.

The students spent most of the fall semester of their final year developing the idea for the design, and the conceptual and technical drawings. To better understand the building’s intended location, they visited the actual site to get a firsthand sense of its size and the surrounding infrastructure. They also took the extra step of developing a physical model of their condo.

The project was displayed at the OAAAS’ annual conference this past May. It was the second time that students in the George Brown program have won this award — the first was two years ago, in the awards’ inaugural edition.

“I think this win demonstrates that here at the college, we are preparing students for what industry is asking graduates to be prepared for. It says that we are doing something right,” says Pietro Ferrari, professor and program coordinator in the School of Architectural Studies. “These competitions call everything into play — the students use software, resolve technical matters, collaborate with each other, and design and present an appealing project. It shows that our students have both the technical and the soft skills to hit the ground running at a job.”

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