An Interview with Fourth Year Architectural Science student: Tanya Jordan

This week I’m interviewing the first person I met in university… my first-year roommate! Despite not knowing each other before university and having different programs, we instantly connected because we happened to both be from Kitchener/Waterloo and have passion for our fields. Tanya is a fourth-year Architectural Science student and I can’t wait to share her Ryerson story!


How would you describe the Architectural Science program?

“The architecture program is very design-based, but it allows students to learn about the building science that goes behind the creating. Opposed to test heavy programs, the program is very project-focused, and students often spend a lot of hours in the studio making models. Students take a variety of courses including everything from the history of architecture to project management to building science. Students have the opportunity to stream into different fields of architecture, and streams don’t necessarily have to do with architectural design as graduates of the program can go into project management or even building sciences.”


Why did you choose the Architectural Science program?

Toronto Buildings

Toronto Architecture

“I chose the program because I liked that it had a combination of both the design and science approach to architecture. I also loved that it was in the downtown core because I had previously lived in a smaller city and I wanted to go to university in a place where I could get exposure to all the different types of architecture in the city.”


Are you happy with your choice? Is it what you expected?

“I’m really happy with my choice! I love that it’s mainly project-based because I get to experiment a lot and try new things. There were some things I wasn’t expecting. The support we get from faculty is amazing. The professors are very experienced, and a lot of them are still working architects. I can always go to any of the professors for help even if they’re not my studio professor with my design questions, and it’s very helpful to get that kind of insight.

On the other side of things, the workload is a lot more than I expected, which is why I decided to spread my third-year courses over two years and complete the program in five years. A piece of advice I would give to incoming architecture students is to balance your design studio courses with your other courses, because a lot of students tend to put all of their energy into design studio and forget about the other courses, and these other courses have a value in the design process.”


What has been your favourite course you have taken?


The Computer Aided Design (CAD Lab

“My favourite course has always been studio. That’s the main course we have and it’s weighted as three-course credits. It takes up the majority of architecture students’ time, but I love it because we actually get to design, build models, make projects and learn about all the different software used for architecture. The course mainly involves individual work, and students get a lot of freedom and creativity. In the third year of studio, we start doing group projects, and we learn to collaborate with other people in a studio setting.”


How would you describe Ryerson to someone who was thinking of coming here?

Tanya and I at a NXNE concert in Dundas Square

“What I like most about Ryerson is that it’s not separate from the rest of the city. This experience is very different from other university experiences. The campus is woven into the downtown core, and there are always events going on around the area. I love Gould Street which is the main street at Ryerson, and it provides a car-free space in downtown for students. The street often has farmers’ markets and other cool pop up events that are geared towards Ryerson students.”


Outside of class what are you involved with?

“At Ryerson, I’m part of the Student Health and Wellness Advisory Group, and we’re working on a bunch of different projects related to the health and wellness department at Ryerson. I also work at the pool in the Ryerson Recreation and Athletic Center as a lifeguard and swim instructor. There are so many opportunities to work on campus at Ryerson, and it’s a great option for students as these jobs make it easier to juggle work and school. A bonus is that the staff at Ryerson are really friendly, and everyone that comes into the gym is warm and welcoming. I’ve made a lot of friends through work.


Tanya at the AGO

Outside of Ryerson, I am a yoga teacher, and I like to take drawing classes. Drawing, creating, and anything art-based is what made me want to dive deeper and take a degree focused on design in university. So, taking the time to draw is going back to the root of why I wanted to be in this program. I think it’s really important to take the time to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself which includes taking time to exercise and stay healthy. For me, exercise is a great way to take a break from school work when I’m stressed out, and this is especially true when I’m stuck in design as it helps me refresh everything and gives me a fresh start. The weeks that I am taking time for self-care and the weeks that I’m taking time for exercising are the same weeks that I perform better at school.”


What has been a highlight of your time at university? 

“Exploring the city has been my main highlight, and it has been such a big part of


Tanya exploring the city

my university experience as there is just so much to do in the city. You can never really be bored in Toronto. The city is so diverse which naturally leads to a variety of different food and arts and culture establishments that are amazing.

I love the Japanese cuisine here, and luckily for me, there’s a lot of Japanese restaurants in the downtown core. I also love desserts, and we have some amazing dessert spots that are near Ryerson including Butter BakerTsujiriUncle Tetsu’s, and so many others. In terms of the arts, I love that the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is close by and is free for anyone who is under 25. There’s also a lot of small galleries around that area but also in the west and the east end. Art is everywhere in the city.


Tanya at the AGO

All of this exploring has been even better with the friends I’ve made in university including through my program, but also through work and living on-campus residence in my first year. I’m still close friends with my first-year roommate and other students who lived in my residence. I would recommend living on campus to all incoming students who have the opportunity to do so. Overall, the closest friends I’ve made have been in university.”


What’s a common misconception of your program?

“A common misconception is that people think it’s just an art-based program and that architecture students don’t have experience with the scientific background behind architecture. We actually have a lot of courses that teach us about the building science aspect, and all the other things that go behind the design. Some examples of these courses include physics, building science, and detailing and materials. We really learn about everything that goes on behind the scenes.”


What do you wish you knew about your program when applying?


Tanya utilizes public transit for her adventures

“I wish I knew to develop skills in all the different software programs. Skills in programs like Illustrator, Photoshop or any of the Adobe programs would have been really helpful. I also wish I knew that certain laptops can handle the different programs that we need for 3D modelling better. I had a MacBook going into university, but I would suggest a Windows computer as they handle the software better.”


What’s next for you after graduation? 


The Ago architecture that caught Tanya’s eye

“After graduation, I’d like to stay in Toronto and start off by gaining experience at a design firm. At some point, I would like to work in environmental design which has a focus on sustainability, and I’d also like to work on health and wellness designs for community centers and hospitals. I have invested a lot of my time in the health and wellness area and the design area, and so my overall goal is to combine the two by designing spaces for health and wellness. This is my larger goal, and it might not be right after graduation, but I hope to eventually. However, I may change my mind as I go as the architecture degree allows for graduates of the program to branch off into so many different things including stage design, interior design, urban planning, and really anything in that spectrum.”

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