How archies celebrate the new year!

Photo by Brittany Ricker

It was a warm night in Toronto on December 31st, 2010 as hundreds of architecture students from across the United States and Canada celebrated the new year at Berkeley Church in Toronto.  This was the Beaux Arts Ball – the New Years Eve event hosted by AIAS Forum 2010.

AIAS Forum was a 4-day event in Toronto hosted by Ryerson’s School of Architecture’s AIAS chapter.  I attended the event with the intention to meet other architecture students outside of Building 22 – and man, it was more than just a time to network.

On the first day, I entered Ryerson’s architecture building to attend a Design Charrette.  Immediately, I was put into a group of 5 other students whom I had never met.  One was a fellow Canadian from Ryerson, the others were students from Bowling Green University in Ohio.

I won’t go into too much detail about the design competition, but I will say that it was strange to collaborate with my new American peers. They were very computer-based designers.  We sketched a bit… but after drawing a plan, we went straight to SketchUp.  It was different but I learned quite a bit, and I contributed with a nice hand drawing of two.  It was a great experience and definitely kept my design brain running throughout the holidays.

After the competition, I followed them to their hotel.  These American students were staying at the Fairmont Royal York.  Apparently they got an awesome deal – $119 for a 4-person room for four nights. Ridiculous.  And for a lot of these students, the schools paid for their registration and hotel.  All they had to do was pay for getting up to Toronto.

Photo by Jessica Jianjia Leung

But on the way to the hotel, we passed through a building that I never really noticed.  It was Calatrava’s Allen Lambert Galleria.  Having lived next to Toronto for years, it was interesting seeing the city with new educated eyes and with a tourist’s perspective.

Photo by Brittany Ricker

The week went on and I attended various parties, seminars, lectures and workshops that really inspired me.  This event was a fantastic opportunity for me to meet architects, students, and all around really cool people.

Photo by Jessica Jianjia Leung

Every night all the students congregated in the main conference room.  It was crazy to see that all of these kids studied the same thing as you.  They all understood what it was like to pull an all-nighter and what it meant to be in one of the hardest programs one could study.

The national president of AIAS and the executive director would host the assembly for the night.  They opened the floor up with “Roll Call” – where they called out every school with an AIAS chapter and each group of students would reply with an outrageous cheer. Carleton was called out as an associate university.  I made my presence known with a loud “YEAAAHHHHHHH!!!!”

Photo by Jessica Jianjia Leung

Other schools did some funny skits, a dance, a song… It was crazy to see all these students with so much spirit.  To me, it felt like frosh week with smarter people.

An inspirational lecture from David Zach – Photo by Jessica Jianjia Leung

The assembly would end with a keynote speaker.  On the last night, I was lucky enough to attend a very powerful presentation by Futurist David Zach. I would recommend for everyone to visit his website:  He was absolutely inspirational.

Overall, it was a very fantastic week.  I only wish that more of Carleton came to attend.  But not to worry – next year, they’re having Forum 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona!

Photo by Jessica Jianjia Leung

I hope people consider attending.  Perhaps we can find a way to subsidize the costs through the school? If anyone is interested, feel free to notify me:


2 responses to “How archies celebrate the new year!

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