Amos has strong interest in architectural design and research
February 4, 2019
Women play major roles in shaping structures and designing landmarks.
Ask graduate student Isabel Amos who some of her architectural inspirations are and she quickly lists award-winning Elizabeth Diller and Zaha Hadid – nicknamed Queen of the Curve -- who died three years ago.
Diller was the only architect named on Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people of 2018 while Hadid’s foremost works include the aquatic centre used for the 2012 London Olympics and China’s Guangzhou Opera House and Beijing Daxing International Airport that’s expected to open in September.
With a strong interest in architectural design and research, Amos is enrolled in the University of Toronto’s John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape & Design Master’s program that’s aligned with the post-professional Master of Landscape Architecture that allow students to build a cohort across the two disciplines while offering an enriched experience.
Students in the Master’s program are trained to be adept professionals and to redefine the relationship between building design, material fabrication and urbanism by examining the ways in which architecture can address questions of cultural relevance, modern craft and environmental durability.
Amos has been at U of T since 2012.
“The university was my first choice for multiple reasons,” the Ontario Scholar pointed out. “My parents love the school and it has huge credibility. I also have friends that attended the university and I just like how I could study architecture, but yet branch off into other things. While pursuing my Bachelor’s degree, I did visual and urban studies as well and that helped to broaden my knowledge. Other programs are just architecture focussed.”
Last October, Amos and other students spent a week in Newfoundland experiencing rural coastal communities’ way of life and the complexities that have resulted from outmigration. The design option studio explore a range of threshold conditions found in architecture and daily life.
As part of the research project, the young people engaged with Newtown and Freshwater community members to conduct and document individual site investigations that will aid their final design strategies.
“That was a very enlightening experience about how rural towns can find processes and capitalise on the value that they have and within the greater region of Newfoundland,” said Amos who is a recipient of the John & Myrna Daniels scholarship that’s awarded annually to students who preferably are the first in their family to attend university.
The $10,000 scholarship is renewable.
“The scholarship allowed me to live downtown and not commute daily to Oshawa as I did during my undergraduate years,” she noted.
John Daniels is an architect and veteran developer with a keen passion and track record for building socially sustainable and livable urban environments.
In addition to their first gift in 2009 to start the scholarship program and provide capital support for the school’s expansion, the philanthropists donated $10 million in 2013 for the Daniels faculty to undertake an ambitious transformation of One Spadina Crescent where the school is located and $6 million last November to assist students who might not otherwise have the chance to pursue studies at the University of Toronto.
Amos, who completed her first degree with distinction in 2016 and was a Treasure Map U of T graphic designer for 22 months, developed a passion for architecture in Grade Nine.
“As I entered high school and was thinking about what I wanted to do moving forward, I chose to go down that path,” she said. “Architecture is a mix of math, art and science and I found the combination quite appealing. It seemed like the right fit for someone who like those subject areas.”
Pursuing an MBA in business & architecture and starting an architectural practice are on Amos’ radar.
Last August, the former Oshawa Public Library student page, who believes citizens should be given more of a voice as to how their communities are formed and how their spaces should be developed, finished a 16-month stint as a development assistant at Ivanhoe Cambridge which is a Canadian real estate company.
Amos’ duties included completing architectural detail drawings and creating material to organize and represent information in a consistent and clear manner.
The eldest of three children parents’ are immigrants from St. Lucia and Romania.
Benjamin and Maria Amos are credited for much of her success.
“They have always said, ‘Whatever you choose, be passionate about it’,” the U of T teaching assistant said. “They are always there supporting and encouraging me and I don’t take that for granted.”
In her spare time, Amos enjoys listening to music and looking at movies.
Her favourite films include ‘Coco Before Chanel’ which is a biographical drama detailing the early life of French fashion designer Coco Chanel and ‘Interstellar’, a 2014 science fiction set in a dystopian future where humanity is struggling to survive.