Taking Action | Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

Taking Action


Taking Action: A Conversation on Climate Action and Architecture in Canada, is the first of a series of events leading into the 2021 Congress on Architecture— taking place on October 4, 2021—and the development of a Climate Action Plan for the RAIC. The online event brought together four presenters and introduced the 2021 Congress on Architecture topics:  
  • The Facts / The Context (Facing the Facts) 
  • Challenges and Opportunities 
  • Implementation and Application 
  • Towards Future Solutions 
Broadcasted live on October 5, 2020, this event is now available as a recording on-demand. A discussion and Q&A session followed the final presentation.  After the completion of the ending quiz and the feedback survey, a certificate of completion for 1.5 hours of content will be available through the RAIC LMS.   A video tutorial on the RAIC LMS can be accessed by clicking here.   

Presentation 1: The Facts / The Context
Presented by: Adam Fenech PhD
Presented by: Alfred V. Waugh Architect AIBC, MRAIC, LEED AP
Presented by: Catherine Dubois Ph.D. M.Arch.
*Catherine Dubois’ presentation is in French. An English transcript will be provided
Presentation 4: Towards Future Solutions
Presented by: Ajla Akšamija PhD, LEED AP BD+C, CDT 
Moderated Discussion
Moderated Q&A 
Host: Mona Lemoine, Chair of RAIC Committee on Regenerative Environments 
Moderator: Stephen Leahy, International Environmental Journalist

Ajla Akšamija, Ph.D., LEED AP BD+C, CDT
Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Dr. Ajla Aksamija is an Associate Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Building Technology Researcher/Associate at Perkins&Will. Her interdisciplinary research approach spans architecture, engineering, material and computer science. She received PhD in Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with an emphasis on technology and environment. Her research interests include building science and sustainability, emerging technologies, digital design and representations, information modeling, and knowledge management. She has worked on developing building analysis and modeling applications, implementation of novel materials in architectural design, development of computational models, and has collaborated with researchers from material science, civil and environmental engineering and computational design. Her professional background includes Perkins&Will, where she directed Building Technology Laboratory (“Tech Lab”), one of the first practice-driven architectural re-search laboratories, as well as U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Construction Engineering Research Laboratory and City of Champaign.  ↑back


Adam Fenech Ph.D
Associate Dean (Interim). School of Climate Change and Adaptation, University of Prince Edward Island

Dr. Fenech has worked extensively in the area of climate change since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change First Assessment Report in 1988. He has represented Canada at international climate negotiating sessions; written climate policy speeches for Canadian Environment Ministers; and authored Canadian reports on climate change to the United Nations. Dr. Fenech has taught at the University of Toronto as well as the Smithsonian Institution for over 20 years, and lectures regularly at universities across Canada and around the world. Dr. Fenech shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He is presently the Associate Dean (interim) of the School of Climate Change and Adaptation at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI). He is also the director of UPEI's Climate Research Lab that conducts research on the vulnerability, impacts and adaptation to climate change, where his virtual reality depiction of sea level rise has won international awards including one from MIT for communicating coastal science. He maintains the largest fleet of drones at a Canadian university including the largest drone in the country with a four metre wingspan. ↑back

Alfred Waugh Architect AIBC, MRAIC, LEED AP
President, Formline Architecture 

Alfred specializes in culturally and environmentally sensitive projects and has extensive experience with First Nations, cultural societies, and educational institutions. Alfred is Status Indian and part of Treaty 8. He was born and raised in Yellowknife, North West Territories, Canada, and was the first Aboriginal person to graduate with honours from UBC School of Architecture in 1993 and become LEED certified and a registered architect. In 2005 Alfred established Alfred Waugh Architect, a 100 per cent Aboriginally owned architecture practice. In 2012 Alfred incorporated the firm and change the name to Formline Architecture. As part of a sustainable design philosophy, Alfred aims to maximize comfort, longevity, functionality, and energy efficiency. The firm has developed a reputation for finely crafted cultural and sustainable buildings including the UBC Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre, the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre and the First Peoples House at the University of Victoria↑back

Catherine Dubois Ph.D., M.Arch.
Sustainable Development Advisor, Société québécoise des infrastructures

Catherine Dubois is a sustainable development advisor at the Société québécoise des infrastructures. An architect by training, she is currently developing a method for assessing the vulnerability to climate change in buildings. This mandate is based on research projects she has conducted at Laval University, the National Institute of Applied Sciences in Toulouse and the University of Toronto as part of her doctoral and post-doctoral studies. The fight and adaptation of built environments to climate change and the transfer of knowledge to design professionals are part of these areas of expertise. ↑back

Mona Lemoine Architect AIBC, MRAIC, LEED AP BD+C,  Regenerative Practitioner, RELi AP
Senior Sustainable Design Specialist, Perkins and Will 

Mona’s raison d'être is to have a positive impact in the world. A community leader, she helped found the first Chapter of the Canada Green Building Council, an experience that formed the basis of her continued advocacy work in sustainability and the built environment. Currently, she chairs the RAIC Committee on Regenerative Environments and is a member of the RAIC Congress Steering Committee. In her advisory role at Perkins and Will, Mona enjoys the opportunity to be a resource on a variety of projects–helping to problem solve and inspire people to incorporate sustainability values in their work. Her unique balance of both big picture systems thinking and attention to detail is invaluable in leading and managing teams through the sustainability assessment process. A lifelong learner and adventurer, Mona has lived, studied, and worked abroad in several countries including Venezuela, Japan, and Chile. Being immersed in other cultures and languages has taught her to broaden her perspective and continues to motivate her both personally and professionally.

Stephen Leahy
International Environmental Journalist

Stephen Leahy is an award-winning journalist and author who has covered international environmental issues for more than 20 years. His work has been featured in publications around the world including National Geographic,  The Guardian (UK),  Vice Motherboard,  Inter Press Service News Agency (IPS), Ensia, Al Jazeera, New Scientist, The Ecologist, Mo Magazine (Brussels), TerraGreen (India), Toronto Star, Maclean’s Magazine, China Dialogue, Earth Island Journal, and DeSmog Canada. Based outside of Toronto (Uxbridge), Stephen has been the international science and environment correspondent for the Rome-headquartered Inter Press Service News Agency (IPS), the world’s 6th largest global news agency. He is a regular international speaker on water, climate and other environmental issues. ↑back