Laurentian University has named Dr. David Fortin as the next director of the McEwen School of Architecture (MSoA). Dr. Fortin, previously a faculty member at the MSoA, assumed his duties as director at the beginning of the month, taking over from the school’s founding director, Dr. Terrance Galvin. Dr. Galvin successfully led the MSoA’s creation and development since its launch in 2012.
“It is truly an honour to have been chosen to lead our country’s newest architecture school,” said Dr. Fortin in a press release. “The unique vision for this school, one deeply grounded in celebrating place, culture and community through design, has always inspired me as these are the principles that ground technological innovation and creativity towards a future we all want to live in.”
Dr. Fortin is a member of the Métis Nation of Ontario, and is the first Indigenous director of a Canadian architecture school. He is also a member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (MRAIC) and a registered architect, and has worked with various professional firms in Calgary. He has taught design, history and theory in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada, and currently teaches a class exploring the impact of climate change on design. Dr. Fortin currently focuses on Indigenous design in contemporary architecture and is co-curator for a team of Indigenous architects, called UNCEDED, representing Canada at the world-renowned 2018 Venice Biennale competition in Italy.
“I feel privileged to lead a school that does what no other architecture school in Canada does,” added Dr. Fortin. “Our students learn through hands-on experience and direct community engagement. Furthermore, they are guided by Indigenous teachings and the highest level professional standards to design buildings and communities in cold climates worldwide, by incorporating innovative uses of wood and developing appropriate sustainable strategies.”
Since its inauguration in 2012, the MSoA has helped change communities in Northern Ontario. MSoA students have worked closely with numerous communities on projects such as seniors housing in Chapleau, ice fishing huts in Sudbury and a health centre for Batchewana First Nation.
Dr. Terrance Galvin, founding director, will continue to teach at MSoA and play an active role in its future. Under Dr. Galvin’s leadership, the MSoA became the first new architecture school to open in Canada in over 40 years, and has since attracted students and staff whose work has already received national and international acclaim. In addition to teaching, Dr. Galvin continues to lead the school’s application for initial accreditation with the Canadian Architectural Certification Board.
Photo (L to R): Dr. Terrance Galvin, founding director of MSoA; Dr. Pierre Zundel, interim president and vice-chancellor of Laurentian University; Dr. David Fortin, director of MSoA.