Oct. 19, 2020

Certificate program bridges past and future stories

Heritage certificate helps practitioners design places that represent our nation’s history and culture in a fast-changing world

Conservation is a global practice, an industry rooted in shared stories. Through the Built and Landscape Heritage Certificate, the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape (SAPL) offers post-baccalaureate education that provides a platform for important conversations about heritage conservation, widely recognized as an important strategy for identifying and protecting built and landscape heritage resources.

Bill Kumlin, architect and principal of Kumlin Sullivan Architecture Studio, is a student in the program just about to finish his third “block week” course, three of four certificate requirements. He only has, for lack of a better term, a thesis left to complete.

As one of five students in his cohort, Bill looks forward to completing the program in spring 2020, but already thinks he’ll miss the classroom (even Zoom), the field trips such as the behind-the-scenes tour of City Hall while it was being restored, and post-class craft beers in Inglewood.

  • Photo above: City Building Design Lab, where block week classes take place and the former central library, across the street from the City Hall restoration project in April 2019. School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape photo
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School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape student Bill Kumlin.

Bill Kumlin

Kumlin’s career has always gravitated toward heritage and preservation. While attending university in Winnipeg, he worked for Parks Canada in the historic preservation department. He’s worked on projects with the heritage staff at the City of Calgary, from the Palace Theatre to Flames Central. He even worked with one of the certificate program instructors, Larry Pearson, on that project.

With one particular client group, he consulted on the Customs House, Hudson Block and numerous projects on 8th Avenue — some designated, others historic resources.

“I grew up in Southern Alberta near the 1911 High River train station. The Queen even stopped at some of these train stations. I’ve always been fascinated by older buildings, sway-back barns, leaning granaries, wondering who worked in them, how long ago they were built, why they weren’t maintained, why there were allowed to fall,” he says.

Older buildings tell stories of where we’ve been and where we’re going.

With so much experience, it’s curious why Kumlin applied for the program. “The two prime drivers were essentially wanting to be better educated for my clients to bring more tools to them, and broaden the scope of our practice into heritage projects — in this city and other communities in Alberta and B.C.”

The certificate program at the University of Calgary fills a gap in professional education, and was approved by Alberta’s Ministry of Advanced Education after rigorous review. The program also allows practising professionals to combine theoretical with real-world experience and design authentic, people-centred cities.

“Propelled by a growing commitment to sustainability, heritage-led regeneration is transforming the urban fabric of Canadian cities and is creating a dynamic new civic identity,” says Dr. Sasha Tsenkova, PhD, program lead and professor of planning and international development, SAPL.

“The courses explore the nexus of Canadian heritage conservation and planning and introduce unique blend of design strategies to preserve the heritage legacy of Canadian historic places.”

The Built and Landscape Heritage Certificate develops valuable skills related to heritage conservation and preservation — ranging from a single site to a broad landscape complex.

“Conservation of heritage buildings and landscapes provide a sense of historical identity and cultural continuity in a fast-changing world,” observes Dr. John Brown, SAPL dean. “Preserving and restoring our heritage fabric and infrastructure can also help build the economy through tourism and the creation of new jobs.”

The program provides a critical forum for practitioners and educators to continue building expertise and sharing stories with each other, and accepts applications year-round.

Find more information on the certificate, admission requirements and applications.