Orientation 2020

Orientation at SAPL is a series of events, workshops and information sessions where students can learn about what to expect during the fall and winter semesters. Mandatory health and safety training for the workshop is provided.

New to this year, short talks from notable speakers from around the globe will offer perspectives on topics from ethics, diversity in design and climate change to field stories such as wisdom from practitioners and graduated students.

Most of the program is offered to new students only, but returning students are invited to attend selected events and conversations with invited guests. These are marked in the schedule with an asterisk (*).

Orientation Week Schedule

orientation 2020 schedule

Monday August 31


Welcome and Introductions *


Dean John Brown

Welcome to SAPL

Dean John Brown introduces SAPL, including a 360 virtual tour of the faculty's main building and satellite campus "City Building Design Lab". Dean Brown will also give an overview of orientation week highlights, introduction to SAPL team, and a student mapping activity that aims to build connection hubs, no matter what city students might be in this year.

David Down, the City of Calgary’s Chief Urban Designer

Welcome to Calgary

David Down, the City of Calgary’s Chief Urban Designer

Leyla Acaroglu, founder of UnSchool of Disruptive Design

Welcome to Design

Leyla Acaroglu, founder of UnSchool of Disruptive Design, and agencies Disrupt Design and Eco Innovators

City Building Design Lab *


Joshua Taron, Associate Dean (Research)

What is the CBDLab?

Joshua Taron, Associate Dean (Research), introduces SAPL's hub of research and innovation.


Tutorials and Clinics

Zoom + D2L clinic


Most people are familiar with Zoom but perhaps less so with Desire2Learn (D2L), a cloud-based software used by SAPL for online learning and collaboration). This session will help you brush up on technical aspects and best practices.

Drawing and Illustrations in the Landscape


Join Tim McCulloch, principal of Carson McCulloch and landscape architect, for his popular illustration tutorial. Be sure to print out the worksheet package before the session so you're ready to draw!

Introduction to Adobe Illustrator


Hannah Allawi, PhD candidate, walks newcomers through the fundamentals of Illustrator. Please order and install Adobe Illustrator before the tutorial https://ucalgary.service-now.com/it?id=it_catalog.


1:30pm–4:30pm (pre-book 10 minute appointment)

Check in with Jen to say hi and if you have any general questions, this is good chance to get organized. Please prebook your 10-minute session. 

Tuesday September 1


Program Introductions

Please attend the session for your program only.

MLA Program Introduction


Presenter: Dr. Mary-Ellen Tyler

MArch Program Introduction


Presenter: Catherine Hamel

MPlan Program Introduction


Presenter: Dr. Mary-Ellen Tyler

Research Program Introductions


Introductions to MEDes, PhD and DDes programs with Barry Wylant, Graduate Program Director, and Jennifer Taillefer, Academic Programs Coordinator.




CFD will be providing a presentation on fire safety. No registration is required but you do need to join using Microsoft Teams - please install and test the app before the session so that you're ready to listen in.



Nathan Tremblay, workshop supervisor, provides tips, tricks and general rules for preparing files for fabrication on equipment such as the laser cutter and 3D printer. Jessica Alder, event specialist, will also an  overview of when and how student workspaces will operate. Please be reminded to also complete your online safety courses by September 15.

Library Resources and Virtual Tour


There are many resources, services and collections available for you through UCalgary Libraries & Cultural Resources. Get an overview of what's available to you to save yourself time and improve your effectiveness and quality in research and academic work. Meet James Murphy, librarian for SAPL, as he covers a wide range of topics!

Wednesday September 2


International Student Orientation


New international graduate students are encouraged to attend the orientation session hosted by the International Student Services team. This will be a live, remote question and answer panel with staff and student leaders from several UCalgary offices who work to support international students on topics such as immigration, work regulations for employment, Canadian classroom culture, getting settled in Calgary, and social programming for students and their families. Registration link to come.

Graduate Orientation (GradO)


It's recommended that all new graduate students participate in GradO, the orientation session hosted by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. They offer special presentations that will get you acquainted with some important grad school basics. Sign up is required.

Health + Wellness


After GradO, SAPL will host two short info sessions. Presenters from Student Wellness Services will provide overviews of their services offered. Student Wellness will speak to their holistic care services, from medical to mental health. 

Ethics + Diversity


After GradO, SAPL will host two short info sessions. Presenters from the Office of Diversity, Equity and Protected Disclosure will provide overviews of their services offered. Part of the mandate of the ODEPD is providing a centralized resource for diversity and inclusion information/resources and to link related initiatives/programs across campus. 


YYC Practice Perspectives – Towards Solutions *

2pm–3pm Interdisciplinary panel discussion

Kate Thompson

Kate Thompson

President & CEO, CMLC (Architect, AAA, MRAIC) 

Kate joined CMLC in January 2013 to lead the delivery of the master plan vision for East Village. In January 2020, after seven years as Vice President of Development, Kate stepped into her new role as President & CEO. Today, under Kate’s leadership, CMLC is overseeing the development of the BMO Convention Centre Expansion, Event Centre, and critical infrastructure projects in east Victoria Park, delivering on the vision for Calgary’s Culture & Entertainment District.

Cathy Sears

Cathy Sears

EXP, Manager, Landscape Architecture (BSc., BLA, AALA, FCSLA)

Cathy Sears is landscape architecture manager at EXP and Fellow of the CSLA. She is recognized for her award-winning design achievements and her executive leadership with the Alberta Association of Landscape Architects (AALA), the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA), and Landscape Architecture Canada Foundation (LACF).

Cathy is skilled in public engagement, integrated project planning, and practice management. Her love of the arts and passion for more resilient design inspire innovation and better public realm outcomes. She believes landscape architects play a vitalizing role in society through the art and science of design, planning and management of cities, communities and their regional landscapes.

Liisa Tipman

Liisa Tipman

Calgary Metropolitan Region Board, Project Manager – Land Use (RPP, MCIP)

Liisa is an award-winning, land-use planner with a broad understanding of all facets of the planning process. Over her career, she has developed a comprehensive understanding of municipal policy development and long-range planning, acting as a lead in annexations, municipal development plans, growth studies and strategic plans for urban and rural municipalities across Alberta.  She has successfully managed industrial, institutional, natural resource, and residential development projects. Liisa received her master’s degree in planning from the University of Calgary in 2007. She joined the CMRB in February 2018.

PARK(ing) Day co-lab session


Collaborate with your peers during this fun "PARK(ing) Day" themed session - conceptualize something awesome and sketch it out. Get to know the design process, your peers, and this cool Calgary-based event. Have a basic pen and plain paper handy, we'll walk you through the rest. THEN at the end, we will have an ask-all question period with returning students from each program type.

Thursday September 3


Join invited guests in Perspectives: 13 candid conversations about 13 topics. Choose one topic from each session (total of three).

Perspectives Session 1 *


Please be reminded to register for only one event per session.

Constance Friesen, PhD, Adjunct Faculty, Queen’s University

The ethical work of engaging with each other’s stories

Constance Friesen, PhD, Adjunct Faculty, Queen’s University, Smith School of Business, Kingston

Our identities, world views, values, experiences, actions, and so on, are based on stories that we tell ourselves. While stories can be based on fact, many stories are powerful elements of the structures and institutions that legitimize and privilege certain people. How can we go beyond our own view and critically engage with, and ethically respond to, each other’s stories—particularly when stories conflict?

Constance teaches business ethics at the Smith School of Business where recent stories shared by queer, transgender, black, Indigenous, people of colour, disabled, and lower income students have begun to challenge the school’s carefully polished identity. In this highly charged context, it can be helpful to turn to ethical thinkers (more stories) for guidance on how to bring about change.

Liz Wreford, Public City Architecture, Winnipeg

Accessible & Inclusive Public Space

Liz Wreford, Public City Architecture, Winnipeg

Liz is the co-founder and principal landscape architect of PUBLIC CITY, providing two decades of experience as a landscape architect and designer in Canada, the United States and Australia. She has worked on projects ranging from institutional and civic landscapes and plazas to neighbourhood parks and installations. Her work contributes to public spaces that are expressive, engaging, inclusive and that help to create a better sense of Canada's identity. She is recognized internationally for Hygge House Warming Hut (2013), and Crokicurl (2017).  Her universally accessible toboggan slide project, Manitoboggan, recently won two International Olympic Committee Awards for Exemplary Design of Recreation Facilities and a CSLA 2020 National Award of Excellence.   In 2018, Liz founded Building Equality in Architecture Prairies to advance excellence and diversity across city-building professions in the west

Sumer Matharu, Creative Director of Mercedes and Singh, and MTHARU

Fabrication and the built environment

Sumer Matharu (MArch'18), Creative Director of Mercedes and Singh and MTHARU, Calgary

It is the role of the designer to bridge the gap between materiality and fabrication. In order to be an effective designer, an intrinsic knowledge of materials and their respective tools is an extremely valuable skill. Since the day I made the decision to start making things, I took up tools and decided to work with my own hands to gain this knowledge. I realized that without knowing how materials and tools worked, specifying the same for others to use would be uninformed, and I would not succeed in my endeavour of becoming a Master Builder in the present context. Whether it meant achieving desired results, breaking things, or finding new aesthetics from unexpected results, the knowledge of materials in fabrication has become my biggest strength as a Designer. Since then till now I have learnt metalworking, woodworking, concrete casting, upholstery, lighting design, epoxy casting, fabrication and digital craft. My practice is centered around how things are made, and my studio is approached for complex multi-material fabrication projects. We are not biased towards analog or digital design, rather, we harness and master any tool or material necessary to solve design problems.

Candace Banack

The Rural Municipal Planning Experience

Candace Banack, RPP, MCIP, BA, MEDes'19

Senior Planner, Town of Cochrane

Candace is a graduate of the Faculty of Environmental Design Masters Planning Program. She has worked as a Professional Planner since 2007 in both rural and urban settings for Mountain View County as well as the Town of Cochrane. Candace has also served on the Board of Directors for the Community Planning Association of Alberta (CPAA) for the last seven years both in the roles of Vice Chair and Conference Chair.

Candace has worked on a variety of planning and environmental projects including regional land trust work, intermunicipal projects, the development of design guidelines and the redevelopment of contaminated lands. In her current role she is responsible for managing long range planning projects such as Area Structure Plans and Neighbourhood Plans, as well as processing subdivision and land use amendment applications of various scales. 

Perspectives: Session 2 *


Please be reminded to register for only one event per session.

Kanchan Prinskloo

Diversity Space

Kanchan Prinskloo. Kapri Consulting. Executive Coaching & Leadership Development, Toronto

Kanchan is an executive coach who helps leaders refine their inner strength to heightened engagement and achieve results. After a 26 years building capacity within healthcare leaders and teams, in 2013 Kanchan started coaching healthcare leaders with the focus on team capacity development. Kanchan’s move to London UK in 2014 ignited her international coaching. Today, Kanchan facilitates Inner Leadership workshops, individual coaching, seminars focusing on Feminine Presence for all.

She holds certification in Executive Coaching and is accredited with the International Coaching Federation. Kanchan holds a Master of Arts in Leadership, and is certified facilitator for Inner Action Work™ with Rising Women Rising World, Immunity to Change™ and Strengthscope™. Kanchan has a strong commitment to various ongoing volunteer work including being an executive board member for Asian Circle UK, Humanitarian Coaching Network and The Aspire Foundation mentorship program.


Guy Skilling

The Inter-Trans-Multi-Disciplinary Path​

(or, MEDes and the SAPL Journey)

Gordon Skilling (MLA'19, MEDes'20), student/researcher/intern, Calgary

Gordon has been involved with the arts since childhood, making a career in film writing for TV and movies before making the switch to environmental design. After completing his MLA in 2019, he was accepted into the Mitacs MEDes program as the first MLA student, where he continued his research interests, recently completing his thesis entitled: Modular Urbanism. Combining modular and multi-scalar design strategies in creating sustainable landscape architecture design and construction processes.
The recipient of numerous student awards, and interning at both landscape architectural and architectural firms, Gordon believes that an interdisciplinary approach is essential to understanding the complexity of the contemporary built environment; where the allied disciplinary threads of, landscape, architecture, and planning interweave to form a connective fabric.  More importantly, within the context of the design process, an interdisciplinary perspective fosters the exchange of relevant, though unfamiliar ideas and approaches in developing robust problem-solving capacities.

Doug Carlyle

The Changing Scope of Practice in Landscape Architecture

Doug Carlyle, Principal Emeritus, Landscape Architecture, DIALOG, FCSLA | RCA, Calgary

Doug joined DIALOG in 2012 when his predecessor firm, Carlyle + Associates, merged with DIALOG. He has over 35 years of experience with a wide range of award-winning projects, from community master plans to private gardens. With a passion for city places large and small, Doug's work investigates the diverse voices and forces that drive their ongoing transformation. 

Doug cherishes his walk to work through our cities’ busy streets, parks, and boulevards. With an eclectic curiosity for the work of many architects, he especially fond of Alvar Alto and Carlos Scarpa for the passion, sense of place, and the masterful detail of their spaces. 

Biography courtesy dialog.ca

Craig Gerlach

Sustainability and the Big Questions

Craig Gerlach, Adjunct Professor, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Calgary Academic Coordinator, Sustainability Certificate + Dr. Sarah Skett, Research Associate, Sustainability Studies, Calgary

Dr. Gerlach’s research is focused on sustainable food, water and energy systems in remote northern villages and to strengthen synergies between climate, weather, policy, community health, food security and sovereignty.

Dr. Skett is an international development specialist and consultant with over ten years’ experience working in developing communities around the world. Sarah has extensive knowledge with community education initiatives, supporting orphans and vulnerable populations, HIV/AIDS programs, community development initiatives, women’s empowerment groups, and the voluntourism industry. She is passionate about collaborative and sustainable approaches to development, capacity building, and working with communities and local leaders.

Hal Eagletail

Introduction to First Nations Customs/Treaty 7/Calgary

Hal Eagletail is member of the Northern Dene TsuuT’ina Nation located in the Treaty 7 area of southern Alberta.

He is the owner of Eaglestar Enterprises Ltd. A company that specializes in Cultural consultant work for all industries. He also owns a bottle depot business and partners with Pacific Developers known as Eagle Pacific. Hal helps hospital patients get back to health with traditional knowledge of herbs and ceremony. He is also a Master of Ceremonies for First Nation Pow Wows and Round Dance celebrations across North America. He also facilitates conferences and workshops. He has traveled international taking Native dance troupe’s to help educate and promote First Nations history and cultural identity. He’s traveled to New Zealand, Switzerland, Germany, France and England. In 2007 he was asked by the Alberta Government to represent First Nations of Alberta at the Smithsonian Folklife festival in Washington DC on Historical Evolution of Alberta’s Native Peoples.

Humour is one of First Nations best healing medicines and Hal has no shortage of that to prescribe.

Courtesy forwardsummit.ca

Perspectives: Session 3 *


Please be reminded to register for only one event per session.

Susanna Niederer, Switzerland

Climate Change and Systems of Transformation

Susanna Niederer, Switzerland

Stepping outside of our taken-for-granted world empowers us to develop our imaginative abilities and become able to conceptualize what is not present

Susanna works as a climate resilience consultant. She is part of the ResiliencebyDesign (RbD) Innovation Lab and co-designs the Climate Change Adaption Competency Framework. She completed her Master’s Program in Disaster and Emergency Management at Royal Roads University and wrote her thesis on “Transformative Climate Adaptation among Youth”. In her former position as Climate Change Adaptation Coordinator of The City of Calgary, Susanna led Calgary's Climate Change Adaptation Plan. She also worked with the Geneva based International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in ten different countries in an administrative capacity. 


Mauricio Soto-Rubio, Assistant Professor, SAPL, Calgary

9 Block Project

Mauricio Soto-Rubio, Assistant Professor, SAPL, Calgary

The project explores how architecture can improve the perceived sense of safety and vibrancy of the city. This design-build project include the design, fabrication and installation of a temporary roof equipped with several innovative, 3d printed , and fully interactive street lights. The project is currently being developed by a group of graduate students in architecture in collaboration with The City of Calgary, the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, and Entuitive, a structural engineering company. It will be installed along the west façade of the City Building Design Lab in downtown Calgary this coming Fall.

Mauricio Soto-Rubio is a professor of architecture at the School of Architecture, Landscape, and Planning at the University of Calgary, where he teaches structures for architects, design studios, and seminars related with construction materials and techniques. Mauricio’s research interests are varied, but typically interrogate and challenge the expressive potential of structural and material systems to define the character of architectural space.

Dr. Brian R. Sinclair, PhD DrHC FRAIC AIA (Intl), Calgary

Human Rights: Diversity – Dignity – Design

Dr. Brian R. Sinclair, PhD DrHC FRAIC AIA (Intl), Calgary

Our contemporary world proves increasingly challenging, complex and, at times, perplexing. Despite significant advancements in science + technology, societies around the globe confront unprecedented crises. Many problems transcend the local, demanding invention, intervention + cooperation across national borders + disciplinary boundaries. The need for rights, dignity, respect + justice looms large. Design affords us potent mindsets & toolsets to support such ends and to realize positive change over scales from body to biome.

Brian is a professor of architecture + environmental design, and former dean in SAPL. Brian is president of sinclairstudio inc., a multi-disciplinary design|research corporation engaged in an array of global projects.

Dr. Fabian Neuhaus

Co-create - a Short Cut the Long Way or Student Led Applied Research

The built environment is not an individual task but a collective effort. Stakeholders have their motivation and agenda but don’t act individually to build our cities. In a student lead research format, collaborative stakeholder-centered development emerges at SAPL experimenting with a new building culture to construct the environment together - a field report.

Dr. Fabian Neuhaus is an Associate Professor at SAPL. He has received his doctorate in urban planning from UCL. His research interest is the temporal aspects of the urban environment. His research focuses on the topics of Habitus, Type, and Ornament in the sense of Activity, Technology, and Memory. For his Masters of Science in Urban Design at the Bartlett School of Architecture, he received a distinction. He has previously worked with design practices in the UK and Switzerland and has researched and taught at universities in Switzerland, Germany, and the UK. He is the principal author of www.urbantick.org and co-author of nextcalgary.ca.


Closing Remarks


Dean John Brown closes orientation week with words of encouragement and what to expect this year. 

Orientation 2020 at-a-glance

Details below.