Who are we?

Coastal Studio is an architectural research unit in the Faculty of Architecture & Planning at Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS. Our work unites research and innovation with education and practice in order to stimulate rural economic development and community engagement. We work collaboratively across several disciplines, with faculty, students, community groups and not-for-profit organizations. Our projects can be seen throughout Nova Scotia and the Maritimes. 

Research and Innovation

Coastal Studio focuses on the development of innovative design and construction techniques that marry new technologies with traditional methods and materials. Our research emphasises lightweight, complex structures that have minimal environmental impact, and construction strategies that can be simply communicated to local craftspeople. 

Education and Practice

Coastal Studio works to advance the design-build model of architectural education and practice. In consultation with coastal communities, Studio students design and construct innovative structures to shelter community activities. This process fosters skill development and community engagement, and creates spaces that benefit visitors and the local population.

Dalhousie University

Coastal Studio operates within the School of Architecture at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, through 4 main channels: 

1. A 1-year concentrated design-build Masters for students interested in design-build innovation (MEDS).

2. A design studio, offered in the summer semester of the first year of the Master of Architecture program (M1). 

3. Student employment, offered during both the undergraduate and graduate co-op work terms. 

4. Freelabs, allowing both undergraduate and graduate students from around the world to join Coastal Studio in the design build process for two weeks at the end of the summer term.

Current Team: 

  • Ted Cavanagh, PhD, Director (link to publications
  • Philippa Keri Ovonji-odida, Project Manager, BEDS, M.Arch (Dalhousie)
  • Jessica Wyss, Project Designer, B.A French and German (Dalhousie), BEDS, M.Arch candidate (Dalhousie)
  • Alix Lanyon-Taylor, Project Designer, B.FA (U o Manitoba), B.A History and Philosophy (U o Manitoba),  BEDS Candidate (Dalhousie)