Building Equality in Architecture Atlantic (BEA Atlantic) has set up a PEI chapter to promote women working in the architectural field. Approximately 30 members meet for lectures and networking events hosted across Atlantic Canada.
Shallyn Murray, a partner in the Charlottetown firm Nine Yards Studio, says sometimes women architects feel isolated, and BEA Atlantic is bridging this gap in Atlantic Canada. “It is a great way to connect with other women in the industry.”
Her interest in architecture was sparked while she studied engineering at UPEI. “I have always had a creative mind, and thought I would be a better fit in architecture,” she says. “After graduating from the engineering program, I applied to Dalhousie University’s School of Architecture, and fell in love with architecture right away.
“At Dalhousie, architecture students come from diverse backgrounds. There are students from art schools or from previous careers in business or trades such as plumbing.”
After four years of study, she received her designation and partnered with fellow architect Silva Stojak to open Nine Yards Studio in 2017. They began with five staff doing commercial and residential work. They have become so busy that staff numbers have grown to 13.
“I have been in the field for seven years, and Silva has been in the field 29 years,” she says. “This year is the busiest yet. Work has been coming in so rapidly, we haven’t had to go out to find projects.”
Job titles at Nine Yards Studio
- Architect Intern
- Student Architect
- Project Manager
- Architectural Technologists
- Office Manager
- Administrative Assistant
The firm advertises jobs with the Architects Association of PEI, LinkedIn and other social media. Shallyn says they posted a job for nearly a year before Nine Yards Studio found two architects from Vancouver and one from Russia.
SkillsPEI funding has helped the firm hire and train student architects. Innovation PEI has provided funding for in-house learning and conferences.
Earning an Architecture designation
After earning a Master’s degree in Architecture, graduates work in the field as interns for the equivalent of three years of hours before writing the professional exam. “It takes some people longer to get their designation,” Shallyn says. “Most architects devote 10 years to the field before they become professionally certified.”
About 20 architects and 10 architectural firms employing one to two staff are affiliated with the Architects’ Association of PEI. They host lectures at least one a month, inviting guest speakers from a variety of industries. “Learning is constant in this field,” Shallyn says. “We have to take about 70 hours of education hours every year.”
For more information
Nine Yards Studio: call 902-566-4449. Visit https://9ystudio.com
Building Equality in Architecture Atlantic (BEAA): www.beaatlantic.com
Architects Association of PEI: www.aapei.com
Architecture program at Dalhousie University: www.dal.ca and search Architecture.
Architectural Technology program at Holland College: www.hollandcollege.com and search Architecture.