McGill University (Meredith)



Apr '10 - Jul '10

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    What architecture students do in their free time

    By Meredith
    Apr 15, '10 9:32 PM EST
    Run the Arch Café
    Although now under the official control of McGill Food Services, the Arch Café is still the hippest hang-out spot on campus. Located in the basement of the architecture building, the café's decor was part of a masters' studio project years back. It still serves fresh food from local bakeries and is staffed solely by architecture students. (Read more about the controversy, which happened before my time, here).

    Visit the Ice Hotel
    Built just outside of Quebec City every winter, the Ice Hotel hosts a design competition among the architecture departments of Quebec universities. This year, McGill took both first and second prize. Although nobody from first year was part of the winning teams, a couple students had the chance to drive down and check it out.

    Go on fieldtrips
    Our first year has been marked by several fieldtrips, from expeditions out into 'real-world' Montreal to factory visits to our class trip to Boston.

    McGill Structures
    Exploring the bridges of the Lachine Canal in our Stuctures class.

    Visiting Quebec's only brick factory with our Organization of Materials in Buildings course.

    Run a student government
    The ASA (Architectural Students Association) is our student association. The members of the executive council somehow find the time to organize a number of school events and student services. From frosh to monthly bagel mornings, from supply packages for first-years to School of Architecture hoodies, the ASA plays an important role in the community of the school.

    As first year students, we haven't played a big role until now. Part of the frantic end-of-semester rush was the election of our own executive council - to take charge when we're in U3. Next year we will take over the adjunct positions and learn the ropes so we know what to do when we're in charge!

    Visit the CCA
    The Canadian Centre of Architecture, the world's third most important architectural archive, is located a mere 15 minute walk from the confines of our studio. Part of our U1 studio course was a series of visits to view different parts of their collection. We had the chance to view some of John Hejduk's original drawings, examine books on perspective from the 17th century and even partake in a discussion with Peter Eisenman.

    Photo from the CCA website.

    Attend lectures
    The School of Architecture organizes a Monday-night lecture series that is well attended by the student population. We've had the chance to hear many a good presentation, from the Canadian Architectural Roadshow to several lectures sponsored in part by the Norwegian Embassy.

    Work hard, party harder. That is certainly the motto of many a student in the School of Architecture. From free wine & cheese at vernissages to student organized events such as Halloween and Valentines parties, architecture students are always happy to be let out of the studio! Some highlights of the year - fitting 50-odd students at a table for a post-crit lunch, underage drinking at the hotel in Boston (who decided to make the legal age 21 anyways) and hopefully, the U3 banquet tomorrow night.

    And most of all.... have fun!
    Whether its making Christmas trees out of beer bottles or posing Kinder Egg Surprises in other people's models, I'd like to think we know how to balance the stress with fun times.

    "Bunny liked the alternation of light and shadow in his new house, but he found it hard to get changed without the neighbours seeing."

    "Bunny liked to stand still until they thought he was a statue, then scare the living daylights out of the neighbourhood kids."

    Meredith (who is blissfully studio-free for the next four months!)


    • Lian Chikako Chang

      You're done already...! Congrats!

      I have twelve brutal days left....

      Apr 15, 10 10:07 pm

      Just two exams, two portfolios and essay and it'll officially be summer. A walk in the park now that the last weekend of all-nighters in the studio is over!

      Apr 15, 10 11:19 pm

      "We had the chance to view some of John Hejduk's original drawings, examine books on perspective from the 17th century and even partake in a discussion with Peter Eisenman."

      Those three things sound just right to me.

      Apr 15, 10 11:27 pm

      Kinder eggs are banned in the US.

      Sad story about the cafe! I worked in the cafe of my undergrad while in arch school, it was a fantastic experience, even though it gave me a life-long coffee addiction.

      how big is the undergrad at McGill? per year I mean?

      Apr 16, 10 12:24 am

      We started off with 52 students (which is a big year, I think), but have dropped down to 48. Its nice being small, I think. You really know everybody in your year (for better or for worse).

      We still "run" the café, we just don't get the profits, which sucks for the ASA. I did had a shift and still don't like coffee! (Chocolate milk all the way)

      Apr 16, 10 12:25 pm
      Lian Chikako Chang

      They take the profits??! :(

      Apr 16, 10 9:59 pm

      Hmm. Just out of curiosity, how many of those 52 were non-Canadians?

      Apr 17, 10 6:40 pm

      My guess is that we only have seven students paying out-of-country tuition. There are a couple more that still spent time outside the country, but attended high-school in Canada, making them part of the Canadian admissions. Oddly enough, nobody from the States...

      The way admissions are structured, the majority of students are from Quebec (due to architecture being considered a professional program...), then from the rest of Canada and very few from outside the country.

      Apr 18, 10 1:44 pm

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