Travel/Research Awards

Mitali Dembla
Canadian Masonry Research Institute Scholarship

Mitali Dembla is a graduate student in the Department of Architecture, University of Manitoba. She is a licensed architect from the Council of Architecture, India and has also worked as an architect with Aga Khan Trust for Culture, India.

The travel through this award explores handmade architecture in Auroville, a design village in India. "Baked Insitu" is a peculiar technique where the structure is treated as ceramic and fire is used as a construction element. This distinctive low-cost process anchors a community component with the act of making and produces construction material instead of traditional consumption. It explores the qualities of mud and poetically treads with other elements eventually strengthening the structure.

Connery Friesen
Bill Allen Scholarship in Architecture (Research)

Connery is a graduate from the University of Manitoba’s Bachelor of Environmental Design Program and is currently a second year master’s student working towards the completion of his Design Thesis - Cultivating a Technologic Heterotopia: Re-Animating the Ruin. He uses film in addition to drawing as an analytical tool in his work and his main research focus has been the relationship between architecture, machine, and dystopia. His work has been published both nationally and internationally and he is a recipient of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Fellowship.

In 2011 Fukushima prefecture was hit by an earthquake and tsunami ultimately causing a massive nuclear catastrophe. As a result Fukushima and surrounding areas have been cut off from society and classified as an exclusion zone severing all ties between the affected region and the unaffected neighbouring communities. In addition to this immense severance the Fukushima catastrophe forced the migration of thousands of Japanese natives. Today as segments of the exclusion zone begin to be cleared, one-question echoes between former residents: “Do we return?”

In the summer of 2019, with the assistance of the Bill Allen Research scholarship, Connery Friesen was able to visit what remains of the exclusion zone and speak to locals that have started returning to the area. Eight years have passed since the disaster and the now designated “Preparation Zone” continues to be in a constant state of decontamination. This tedious process involves scraping the earth of any residual radioactive particles and deconstructing what remains of the built environment. This deconstruction is essentially a “disposing” of all building components although what is collected is too dangerous to enter the landfill and no safe method of disposal currently exists

This lecture discusses the current landscape of the eastern portion of Fukushima prefecture and Connery will not only recount stories shared with him from the current community, but will also begin to question what form future development might take.

Andrew Simonson
Bill Allen Scholarship in Architecture (travel)

Born and raised in rural Saskatchewan, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in Regional and Urban Planning from the University of Saskatchewan in 2016. Entered the Environmental Design AMP Program at the University of Manitoba in 2016 and graduated in 2018. Currently enrolled in the last year of the M.Arch program with a thesis entitled: "The Finnish(ed) Sauna: Exploring Craft and Making in the Digital Age".

Summary of Travel:
Upon receiving the Bill Allen Scholarship for travel, I planned a trip to Finland in July 2019. The purpose of this trip was to study the works of Alvar Aalto, a renowned Finnish architect who practiced architecture, furniture design, and art from early to late 1900’s. More specifically, on this trip I was exploring Aalto’s craft in building and design. His projects are complete artworks in which every detail is thoughtfully executed, from doorknobs, furniture, and structure. Projects visited include The Aalto House (1935-1936) in Helsinki, Finland; Studio Aalto (1955-1956) in Munkkiniemi, Finland; Saynatsalo Town Hall (1949-1952) in Jyvaskyla, Finland; Experimental Summer House (1952-1954) in Muuratsalo, Finland; and finally, the works of Artek (beginning 1935) by Aino and Alvar Aalto.

As a conclusion to this trip, I studied contemporary Finnish sauna design and construction. Salvos is a design/build company in Northern Finland focusing on pre-fabricated sauna and cottage construction. Upon a tour of their factory and a site visit to a completed project, I gained insights into digital manufacturing techniques and methods of construction.


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Food for Thought
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Noon  |  Centre Space
John A. Russell Building
Faculty of Architecture
University of Manitoba

Mitali Dembla

Connery Friesen

Andrew Simonson

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