Ryder Thalheimer, M.Arch '18, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
“The only way design can enhance life for others is to constantly redefine how we see the world and how we can positively contribute to it.”
Ryder recently completed the Master of Architecture program. Prior to this he received his BA in English at Mount Royal University. Within the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA), he has been a teaching assistant for the design+build program, a design studio, several electives and the Verna J. Kirkness program, which aims to promote science and engineering programs to Indigenous communities.
His research focused on how designers and architects can mediate between the top-down and bottom-up approach to the design of houses on First Nation Reserves.
The aim was to interrogate the federally generalized definition of the home by understanding how homes are actually used in rural communities. The outcome was a series of community-led design meetings where community members communicated a housing design that takes the first step towards generational living using local resources and building capacity.
What advice would you give a student considering a graduate degree in architecture?
Be genuine and share your ideas: every design problem can be solved a million different ways, but the best ones develop through applying your own interests and experiences and having them challenged by whoever will listen.
What have you learned in SALA that is most valuable?
Collaboration: working with my peers, students, mentors and professors during my tenor at SALA has been transformational. By openly sharing our ideas and curiosities we each found our own skills, talents and passions, and were able to grow so much in such a short amount of time.
What has been your most memorable/valuable non-academic experience studying architecture in UBC
Travel: whether it was driving across the Swiss Alps with peers, hanging with rockers in Tokyo or picking seaweed on traditional Heiltsuk fishing grounds, my most memorable experiences have been living through new adventures with others.
How will you go on to make a difference in our world?
I believe that the authorship of an architectural intervention belongs to the social and cultural surroundings in which it is situated. The profession holds tremendous opportunity and I am going to continue to explore how designers can engage and give voice to marginalized communities by bringing them into the design process.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I am inspired by people and their stories — when we allow ourselves to listen, we embrace the potential for change. The only way design can enhance life for others is to constantly redefine how we see the world and how we can positively contribute to it.