Aug. 29, 2023

Innovator joins School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

New assistant professor set to inspire future design practices

The School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape (SAPL) at the University of Calgary has appointed Chad Connery to the role of assistant professor of architecture, as it enters a new defining chapter in innovation and growth.

With more than eight years of experience in architecture and environmental design teaching, Connery is an innovative force in interdisciplinary design education.

“Chad’s appointment reflects UCalgary’s commitment to driving innovation in architectural design and education,” says Associate Dean of Architecture, Jason Johnson. “By embracing a critical mindset grounded in material systems, contextual analysis and physical prototyping, Chad will play a key role in shaping the future of design education at SAPL.”

Prior to joining the university, Connery left his architectural imprint on a wide range of projects, from furniture design to multi-family residential development and hydrological infrastructure. He honed his skills over seven years working for distinguished architectural firms such as DIN Projects, AI Coppinger Architect and Bridgman Collaborative Architecture in Winnipeg.

Upon graduating with his Master of Architecture from the University of Manitoba in 2012, Connery was honored with the RAIC Student Medal and AIA Certificate of Merit for his design thesis project. "These recognitions fuelled my passion for entrepreneurial ventures in architecture, leading me to co-found MOTE Projects,” he says.  

MOTE Projects embodies Connery’s interdisciplinary approach, weaving together architectural design and design-adjacent interests into a stream of critical practice and research that, he says, “strays between and beyond clear delineations of design disciplines.” The initiative has led to public space and site-specific interventions inspired by myth and storytelling, with a strong focus on technique, craft and material fabrication.

Connery's work at MOTE Projects has been recognized internationally, with exhibitions in Montreal; Winnipeg; Austin, Texas; Cincinnati; and the prestigious Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2012. MOTE Projects also secured numerous awards, including two Canadian Wood Council Wood Design National Building Awards and two Prairie Wood Design Awards in 2018 for its innovative pop-up restaurant projects, RAW: Almond in Winnipeg and RAW: Gimli in Gimli, Man.

At SAPL, Connery will be instrumental in shaping the first class of the Bachelor of Design in City Innovation (BDCI) program. “I hope to inspire our new undergraduate students and ignite a passion for the future of design for both built and unbuilt environments,” he says.

Away from the drawing board, Connery appreciates nature's architecture by hiking, fishing, paddling and wooden boat-building. "I'm eager to explore Alberta's diverse rural and urban landscapes — they are a constant source of inspiration for my work," he says.

As a teacher, Connery is committed to fostering a culture of open-ended problem-solving and interdisciplinary collaboration. “I strive to draw out the unique design knowledge and skills from each student, promoting the active integration of digital and analog tools to ground student work in reality, while encouraging innovation,” he says.

SAPL offers an environment where Connery's forward-thinking and collaborative approach to design education will engage a new generation of architects, and where he can inspire students and colleagues, alike.

UCalgary’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape (SAPL) prepares students for exciting and meaningful professional careers through the delivery of a distinctly unique design-school experience. SAPL combines a rich and interdisciplinary design-based philosophy with an entrepreneurial mindset, sharing a deep commitment to working with industry stakeholders and community leaders at local, national and international levels to address some of society’s biggest challenges in new and creative ways.