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Odudu Umoessien

University of Manitoba architecture student wins RAIC International Prize Scholarship

Odudu Umoessien wins International Prize Scholarship for essay describing his childhood in Nigeria and how it influenced his decision to become an architect

July 29, 2019 — 

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and the RAIC Foundation are pleased to announce three winners in the 2019 RAIC International Prize Scholarships.

They are:

  • Odudu Umoessien, University of Manitoba
  • Laure Nolte, Dalhousie University
  • Lucie Palombi, University of Montreal

Each student has won a $5,000 scholarship for writing an essay describing the moment they decided to become an architect or knew their decision to become an architect was the right one.

The RAIC received 93 eligible entries in both English and French from students enrolled in Canada’s 11 accredited schools of architecture as well as students at the RAIC Centre for Architecture at Athabasca University and the RAIC Syllabus Program.

“These essays describe moments when their authors understood the world through architecture and formed their own wish to be an architect,” says RAIC President Michael Cox, FRAIC. “Gathering with people, travelling, reading – all are enriched by the places where they occur. In very different ways, the essays evoke the value given by the built world to our lives, and the wish of architects to contribute.”

In an essay about his childhood in Nigeria, Odudu Umoessien writes about becoming “consumed by the relationship between people and space” after seeing the love people had for a courtyard used for storytelling. Later, observing the construction of classrooms in a village, he saw the community begin to identify with the structure as they built it together. It brought joy, pride, and hope. “The people were self-confident: they saw themselves in that piece of architecture.”

The jury admired the story Umoessien told saying “The submission was well-conceived and succinct in its portrayal of an individual journey towards an understanding of the possibilities of meaning (as well as purpose) for architecture and community.”

The 2019 jury members were:

  • Elsa Lam, FRAIC, editor of Canadian Architect magazine;
  • Anne Bordeleau, MRAIC, director, School of Architecture, University of Waterloo;
  • Douglas MacLeod, FRAIC, chair, RAIC Centre for Architecture, Athabasca University;
  • André Perrotte, FIRAC, partner, Saucier + Perrotte Architectes;
  • Barry Sampson, FRAIC, principal, Baird Sampson Neuert Architects;
  • David Covo, FRAIC, associate professor, Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture, McGill University.

To read Umoessien’s full essay click here.



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