We're excited to announce the selection of our 2021 Michael Evamy Scholarship winner, Conrad Speckert, an architecture student at McGill University currently pursuing his master’s degree. Speckert was selected for the scholarship to support his ongoing thesis research in the study of Canada’s egress requirements at various scales of housing, and how these requirements might play a role in the affordability of the nation’s housing supply. He has been awarded $5,000 to investigate the possibility of a potential change to the current egress code requirement.

“Our housing affordability crisis is exacerbated by the regulatory code requirement for two means of egress, which requires apartment buildings of three stories to have essentially the same two exit stairs as buildings of thirteen stories,” said the scholarship winner. “I am grateful to have the support of DIALOG as I pursue this research in hopes of catalyzing valuable changes that can lead to more affordable housing in Canadian communities.”

The development of his research paper, titled ‘The Second Egress: Development of a Building Code Change Request,’ has already begun, and will continue through the Spring of 2022. Upon conclusion, the thesis will be submitted for a code change request to the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes, potentially resulting in transformational change for Canada’s built environment. 

“Regulations, such as those in Canada’s National Building Code (NBC), impact the design of our spaces and communities before a designer even reaches the drawing board. Conrad Speckert’s proposal to challenge the validity of the two-egress requirement of the NBC initiates a novel and critical debate on the relevancy of the codes that govern our communities at a time when dominant paradigms need to be questioned,” said Ramsey Leung, DIALOGer and participant in this year’s scholarship selection committee.

DIALOG established the Michael Evamy Scholarship Foundation to honour the memory of Michael Evamy, a partner instrumental in building its integrated practice from 1966 to 1993. The award provides financial assistance to the selected Canadian student attending a Canadian school of architecture in the year prior to their final year of study, to undertake a specific research project in a field of interest to them and relevant to the practice of architecture.

The next call for submissions for the Michael Evamy Scholarship will be issued in January 2022.