By Greg Murphy
Unsure of what may come, Rosalind Chow left the cityscape of Toronto to study architecture in small-town Belleville.
Previously a business student at Ryerson, Chow decided to relocate to Loyalist to stay close to home and to discover other options. She decided to give it a shot.
Her decision paid off.
On May 10th at the Ontario Association for Applied Architectural Sciences (OAAAS) student award competition in Toronto, Chow was recognized as one of Ontario’s top architecture students. She won a first place provincial-wide award for the design of her final project, a fully functional recreational complex.
“Architecture, I couldn’t tell you why, just seemed like something I’d be interested in. A little bit of math, a little bit of design, I just gave it a try to see if I liked it,” said Chow.
This was the first ever presentation of the award.
The award is meant to recognize the work of students in their final year of study. There were two separate awards, one for group work, and one for the work of an individual. Chow won first place in the individual category.
There are two levels of the competition. First, competition applicants have their projects judged at the college level. Winners of the first level move on to the provincial level.
Chow was surprised she made it to the second level.
“I didn’t know I had won the college level until I found out I won the provincial level as well,” said Chow.
Chuck Barsony, program coordinator and professor for the architecture program at Loyalist, said Chow was well fitted for study in the program.
“Ms. Chow was an extremely intense and motivated student throughout the program. She strove for a very high standard on all of her projects,” Barsony said over email.
Chow said the award gives recognition to Loyalist College.
“It is really surprising, I guess, surprising in a good way, that Loyalist can compete against bigger city colleges with greater resources,” Chow said. “It’s good for anyone who finished at Loyalist because now, its rather than ‘oh, the outside college who is from outside Toronto that doesn’t know how to do Toronto buildings,’ it sort of bumps our name up.”
The future is uncertain for Chow. Architecture students learn multiple streams of their craft including residential design and commercial design. Residential designing may include designing houses and commercial designing may include designing recreational facilities, such as the one Chow did for her final project.
“I don’t really know where to go. I think being cloistered in a school for three years; you don’t really know what the real world of residential and commercial is really like. I think a lot of people will end up trying one stream and then the other before choosing where they go,” Chow said.
The award allowed Chow access to a networking luncheon where she met industry professionals.
However, Chow said there are possibilities for work but they are elsewhere. She said Belleville has a lot to offer in the stream of residential design but she thinks there aren’t any large architecture firms here that compare to those of the bigger cities.
Some graduates of the program have gone to find work in the Kingston and Toronto areas since the school year has ended Chow said.
Chow graduates in June.