3 architecture students share their favourite projects from this year

At the end of each year, the Department of Architectural Science hosts a year-end show that boasts some of its students’ works, transforming Ryerson’s architecture building into an art gallery. Digital and hand-drawn illustrations covered the walls on each floor, small-scale models of structures made out of wood, cardboard or acrylic created miniscule communities, complete with tiny figures of people. On May 3, Folio spoke with three students about their favourite projects displayed from this school year.


Arnel Espanol, fourth year

Fourth-year student Arnel Espanol built the final prototype of his group’s shelter twice: once as a small-scale model, and again as a full-scale structure. The shelter, called Nest, was built as part of the annual Winterstations design competition and was one of the seven winning submissions. This year’s theme was riot, which is why Nest is covered in a mishap of multicoloured strips. Its inside, however, uses muted colours, providing a sombre resting space. Espanol and his group designed Nest to be modular, with each piece built separately and assembled at Woodbine Beach. For Espanol, seeing his projects in full scale was a rare sight and has helped him understand the forces that come to play when building structures.


Tommy Gomez, first year

For first-year student Tommy Gomez, his project sprouted from the concept of growth. Gomez designed a cabin for two botanists studying the Don Valley Brick Works Park, complete with a lab, an office and a green roof that gradually grows out of ground level. This way, the botanists would be able to examine the park’s grass without disrupting the natural area. The green roof is Gomez’s favourite part of his model, but it was also the part that was heavily criticized by his professors — green roofs are structurally ambitious because they’re difficult to support. Still, Gomez is happy that he was able to experiment and create something innovative.


Tanya Estrina, second year

What will happen to our memories in the future? That’s the main question second-year student Tanya Estrina tries to answer in her Data Cemetery concept, which Estrina says is a way of storing history. The Data Cemetery is a set of 3D-printed pods held up by HSS tubes, creating a pavillion in Grange Park. Each pod lights up in a different colour, indicating which era the data inside is from. Each pod’s photos and videos would be accessed through mobile devices and QR codes. Although Data Cemetery implies the death of information, Estrina says that it would do the opposite; it would be a way that data could live on.

Estrina and Gomez also worked on Stratum, an extracurricular project condensing the lengthy process of erosion. The team behind Stratum, which is comprised of of four design members and 12 fabrication volunteers, created the installation as part of the 2018 Gladstone Grow Op, an annual art exhibition focusing on interactions with nature. This year’s theme was “after the flood,” sparked by last year’s flooding of the Toronto Islands. The installation is composed of 24 panels of etched plywood and black lights illuminating a mixture of tonic water and isomalt (what Estrina calls a “tonic water candy”) that forms several melting patterns.