TSA CONNECT 2022 | Session 3: Newcomers
Doors Open at 6:30 PM, Event from 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) - The Annex Lounge
720 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON
$15+HST General Admission, Free for TSA Members using code in Oct 18 bulletin (student membership is free!)
TSA CONNECT: A professional networking and mentorship event for newcomers and emerging practitioners in the architecture and design industry!
We know how difficult it can be to make new connections when moving to a new place, so for this session we are turning our attention to internationally trained professionals and newcomers with an amazing lineup of featured guests who all share in common their architectural training outside of Canada. With degrees, licenses and professional experience from Venezuela to Spain, India to Ireland, our featured guests have all successfully navigated transitioning their lives and professions to Canada — each in their own unique way.
Come join us as they share their stories and advice on topics such as career paths, job searching, and so much more!
6:30 PM Doors Open
7:00 – 8:00 PM Structured Networking Sessions
8:00 – 9:00 PM Mix and Mingle
*Light refreshments will be served and a cash bar will be available.
Featured Guests / Amrinder Gill
Amrinder Gill is an internationally trained architect with more than 15 years of experience in architecture and urban design.
Originally from India, Amrinder was the founding principal of Habitus Design Consultants in Chandigarh, India. He worked as design partner on various multi-unit residential, recreational, hospitality and Urban design projects. The diverse experience in range and scale of projects with deep technical and construction knowledge gives Amrinder a strong design and management-oriented approach to projects.
Amrinder’s great interest in innovative, complex and process driven projects has landed him in science and technology projects in Canada since 2019. He plays a leadership role on various Science and technology projects working as Project Manager / Intern architect at DIALOG, Toronto. He is a strong believer of Integrated approach in design and execution of projects. While at Dialog, Amrinder is managing various teaching, research and production lab projects for Universities, Health institutions and industrial research and production sectors. He is actively involved in various front-end proposals, programming, and feasibility studies.
Featured Guests / Derek Rudder
Derek Rudder is an OAA Intern Architect with 2 years of experience in Canada on single and multi-family residential projects, and 8 years of design and technical experience prior to migration here from Barbados in 2018. He holds a Master’s Degree in Architecture from the University of Technology, Jamaica, and has also completed the local JVS/TMU IPLAN bridging program. Being very technical minded and a critical thinker, he enjoys the complex and unique challenges of modern digital architectural production utilizing BIM software. Derek’s strong passion for architecture, and a continual desire to learn and improve professionally, led him to move to Toronto in pursuit of his architectural aspirations.
To learn more about Derek, check out his LinkedIn profile.
Featured Guests / Mina Arjmand
Mina Arjmand has a B.Arch from Shiraz Azad University, Iran; a Master of Architectural Design from Birmingham City University, UK; and IPLAN, from Ryerson University.
She was an Architect in Shiraz- Iran for 8 years – her experience was designing Mid-rise and High-rise residential buildings. Also, she was a part time University Lecturer and mentored for junior Architectural designer/Intern before moving to Canada in Dec 2019.
In Canada, she started her pathway toward being a licensed Architect in her second homeland, and she started from scratch! She chose to enter into a completely different new type of building design (senior housing / LTC) – as she loves to face new challenges to learn more in architecture! She was hired in Murphy Partners and now she is the Architectural Designer - Intern Architect for 1/5 years and works closely with Architect Principal in early stages of projects - she was promoted 2 times during this 1/5 years.
She loves to share her experience with those who have willingness to hear from her 3 years of life's journey.
To learn more about Mina, check out her LinkedIn profile.
Featured Guests / Joanna Walczak
Joanna Walczak joined Superkül with almost a decade of international experience working across typologies, including single-family homes, commercial high-rise buildings, mixed-use residential developments, and civic projects. During her time at esteemed firms in Warsaw, Paris, and Sydney, Joanna helped deliver complex developments, including an award-winning heritage project that integrated transportation, public art, and Indigenous placemaking while meeting Australia’s most stringent sustainability standards. She also helped prepare several high-profile design competitions for cultural centers and museums. Joanna has undergraduate and graduate degrees from Poznan University of Technology in Poland and currently works on Superkül’s single-family residential team.
Featured Guests / Bérengère Duval
Bérengère Duval has a Master's degree in Architecture and Urban planning from France and is a graduate of the IPLAN program (2021) with JVS Toronto and Toronto Metropolitan University. She has 4 years of experience (France, USA and Canada) with a background in Revitalization projects with a focus on heritage buildings. She is currently employed and under an internship at Larkin Architect Limited, specializing in heritage restorations, renovations and additions.
To learn more about Bérengère, check out her LinkedIn profile.
Featured Guests / Camilla Chu
Camilla Chu joined Superkül with over 15 years of experience in architectural and interior design as well as large-scale project management, including overseeing the design of buildings for the hospitality, entertainment, and retail sectors in Hong Kong. She brings her extensive skills in shepherding projects from start to finish to Superkül’s multi-unit residential team, with a focus on mid- and high-rise structures. Camilla holds a Bachelor of Architectural Science from Toronto Metropolitan University (recently renamed) and a Master of Science in Sustainable Environmental Design from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Featured Guests / Marcos Dornelles dos Santos
Marcos Dornelles dos Santos is a registered Architect in Ontario with more than 15 years of experience in the architectural, urban planning and engineering design fields internationally. Originally from Brazil, where he obtained both his B.Arch and M.Arch degrees, Marcos has worked on a wide range of large and complex project projects, including master planning, residential, commercial and recreational, such as the Velodrome for the “Rio 2016 Summer Olympics”, for example. He moved to Toronto in 2017 where has since worked on a variety of Transit and Industrial projects locally, and currently works as the Lead Project Architect for GHD.
To learn more about Marcos, check out his LinkedIn profile.
Featured Guests / Aminesh Nigam
Aminesh Nigam is currently working as an Architectural Designer at WZMH Architects, Toronto. He graduated with a 5 - year professional degree – B.Arch. from India. In addition, he completed the IPLAN Bridging program delivered in partnership with JVS Toronto and TMU.
With 5+ years of Architectural and design experience ranging from High-end Residential and Condos to Brand Architecture to Hospitality and Commercial office projects through different phases, Aminesh now works on Hi-Tech Architecture and Data Center projects.
His work is greatly influenced and crafted by experience from Sanjay Puri Architects, Anagram Architects, and Benz & Ziegler. WZMH Architects, KPMB, and Hariri Pontarini Architects are among his favorite Canadian architecture firms.
Travel has always been a key part of Aminesh’s Architectural journey, with insights from across Europe and South Asia. It has helped him become acquainted and enriched with new design ideologies and technologies. In the world of Artificial Intelligence, he is still an adaptive hand-sketching enthusiast for brainstorming design ideas.
To learn more about Aminesh, check out his LinkedIn profile.
Featured Guests / Monica Vucko
Monica Vucko has an international Bachelor's degree in Architecture and is a certified PMP in Canada. Monica decided to pursue a career in Project Management and has worked in very large international projects in the last 8 years. She is passionate about each of the projects she is involved in and dedicates her time and effort to understand the needs of the client and the end users. For Monica, it is important to understand all the individual parts of a project and manage the interactions between all the disciplines. “Communication is the most important part of a project for a great outcome.” Currently she is working as a Technology Project Manager where she manages the interactions between the engineering disciplines while coordinating mainly with the architects, clients and different stakeholders.
To learn more about Monica, check out her LinkedIn profile.
Featured Guests / Derek Quilliam
Derek Quilliam graduated in Architecture from the Dublin Institute of Technology in 2003, and went on to become a registered Architect and Member of the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland (RIAI) in 2007. Since relocating to Toronto in 2010, he has worked at +VG Architects, where his work has been particularly focused on the firm’s Heritage portfolio, including landmark buildings such as St. Michael’s Cathedral, The Legislative Assembly of Ontario (Queen’s Park) and Union Station. As well as maintaining his membership of the RIAI, he is a member of CAHP and APTi and has completed courses in Willowbank school of Restoration Arts and at University of Toronto. He believes the dynamic between Heritage Conservation and ongoing new development in the fastest growing and most diverse city in North America is a fascinating and important one. The projects are always unique and challenging, and the work is a constant learning process. He feels lucky to have been able to bring skills & experience with him from abroad to inform and inspire his work here in Toronto.
Featured Guests / Titka Seddighi
Titka Seddighi is a passionate, goal-oriented leader with 20+ years of experience managing large scale mixed-use projects. She has combined technical insight and communication and team management skills to deliver her rich portfolio of award-winning national and international projects. Her strengths lie in design development through construction focusing on building client relationships, while maintaining the design excellence.
Titka holds a Master's degree in Architecture from Azad University, Tehran, and is a registered member of Ontario Association of Architect, a member of Toronto Society of Architects, Urban Land Institute and Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.
Featured Guests / Mohcine Sadiq
Mohcine Sadiq is an internationally-trained architect with a strong interest in minimalist and modernist design. He is currently pursuing his Internship in Architecture Program while working as an architectural and urban designer at Smart Density, a young firm that recently received the best-emerging practice award by the OAA.
Before joining Smart Density, Mohcine’s experience propelled him through various projects ranging in size from large urban and residential developments to public facilities. His primary objective, however, is to design and provide a human-scaled, socially conscious, and sustainable built environment.
Mohcine recognized the importance of developing pragmatic methods for reducing the managerial complexity of each project through intelligent and innovative delivery processes as a result of his specialization in BIM Management.
Mohcine, who recently relocated to Toronto, hops on his bike to explore the city while hoping to contribute to its transformation.
To learn more about Smart Density, check out their LinkedIn profile.
Featured Guests / Sofía Rosemberg
Sofía Rosemberg is an Architect and Project Manager with over 20 years of diverse, local and international experience.
With a strong blend of Project Management skills and the ability to communicate a clear design vision, Sofía leads complex, multi-stakeholder and multi-disciplinary transit projects in Toronto. Here, she has delivered large-scale rail transit, high-rise, commercial, and transit-oriented development projects for conventional, public-private partnership, and design-build delivery models.
Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Sofía was the Founding Principal and Director of Architecture, at GAIA Arquitectura, a multi-disciplinary design studio specializing in innovative and environmentally responsible design, based in Venezuela then Mexico. GAIA projects included single and multi-family residential projects, commercial and institutional renovations, as well as hospitality design.
The diversity of her design, construction, and management experience makes her a strong leader in developing and implementing strategies, policies, and procedures to achieve organizational objectives.
Sofía has a unique blend of business and team leadership expertise, with an ability to see the big picture, and the drive to make these visions a reality through efficient execution.
Featured Guests / Bojana Ralevic
Bojana Ralevic earned her Master's degree in Architecture from the University of Belgrade, Serbia and has 14 years of experience, seven of which in Canada. Most of her experience in Canada is in Transit Architecture, where she worked on Subway, LRT, and GO projects in Toronto and Vancouver. Bojana currently works as a Deputy Facilities Lead on Yonge North Subway Extension (YNSE) project, managing architects, engineers, stakeholders, and the client.
To learn more about Bojana, check out her LinkedIn profile.
Featured Guests / Hanieh Momeni
Hanieh Momeni is an architect, registered with OAA. She brings not only her strong technical and design skills to the table, but her passion for sustainability as well. With a Masters in Sustainable Buildings obtained in the UK, she is an integral member of the BDPQuadrangle Green Team and champions the integration of building envelope and energy modelling best practices into the standard project workflows. She has greatly contributed as a Project Lead to multi-unit residential projects such as 628 Church Street, 25 Mabelle and 7800 Jane street. Hanieh values lifelong learning and currently pursuing her Passive House Certification.
To learn more about Hanieh, check out her LinkedIn profile.
Featured Guests / Julia C. Márquez
Julia C. Márquez, a licensed Architect in Venezuela, decided to move to Canada and get a diploma in Architectural Technologist at Centennial College to learn building sciences and construction systems in colder weather conditions. Her degree in architecture allowed her to complete her studies in their Fast-Track program in only 2 years. Her time in Centennial College led her to participate in their Global Citizenship and Equity Learning Experience in alliance with the Fu Hui Education Foundation as a Student Ambassador, responsible for organizing and running workshops and activities in China for children of all ages, focusing on teenage girls, encouraging their growth and development as confident, successful and global citizens through workshops of self-exploration, self-confidence, careers and health, as well as having new experiences and sharing differing world perspectives.
After achieving this academic goal, Julia joined +VG Architects in 2016, and worked closely with senior architects, consultants and numerous trades in prestigious heritage projects. Her time in the firm gave her the opportunity to continue to learn and develop her skills in the design and construction, in both restoration and new construction projects under provincial and federal guidelines.
After 5 years with this Toronto based firm, Julia is now an Architectural Designer with Arcadis - IBI Group, a global architecture, engineering, planning, and technology firm creating the intelligent systems, sustainable buildings, and efficient infrastructure of tomorrow to further her professional aspirations.
To learn more about Julia, check out her LinkedIn profile.
Featured Guests / Rania Matta
Rania Matta is a Lebanese Canadian architect with 18 years of professional architectural experience working on various residential, institutional and hospitality projects in Canada, Lebanon and several Gulf countries.
Rania holds a Master in Architecture from the Lebanese University in Beirut, Lebanon.
In 2013, she moved to Montreal where she worked for 2 years as an architectural designer at a real estate developer specialized in residential construction. This allowed her to gain experience in dealing with the construction standards and country-specific regulations in Canada.
In 2015, Rania moved to Toronto and joined the IPLAN bridging program for international architects at JVS. She then filled different positions in architectural firms such as ZAS & ERA to further move up the career ladder. Currently, she is an Associate, Project Architect at Q4A Architects, a mid-size architectural practice specializing in residential design, community planning and institutional and community buildings. Her leadership role extends beyond project work through her mentorship role within Q4A’s intern group and as the organizational head of Q4All, the firm’s diversity and inclusion group.
Rania obtained her OAA license in 2020. She also recently joined the TSA as a volunteer tour guide for their walking tours.
To learn more about Rania, check out her LinkedIn profile.
Featured Guests / Ali Lal Mohammadi
Ali Lal Mohammadi has been a valued member of KIRKOR’s senior team since 2015. His extensive knowledge of residential projects, combined with a thorough understanding of the construction process and technical aspects of the industry, allows him to progress complex designs successfully through multiple project phases. As a skilled team leader, Ali deftly delegates project tasks and coordinates across both internal project teams and external consultants. Ali spearheaded KIRKOR’s Calgary office in 2019 and established their presence in the Western milieu. As a trusted champion of KIRKOR’s design and quality standards, he successfully expanded their reach and portfolio in that region.
To learn more about Ali, check out his LinkedIn profile.
Featured Guests / Hector Tuminan
Hector Tuminan is an Associate Senior Architect with BDP Quadrangle with over two decades of experience spanning all projects phases and building types. He currently leads a team working on multiple high rise residential, mixed-use, and masterplan projects. A creative and disciplined project manager, he excels in the delivery of architectural solutions where aesthetics and building science combine seamlessly.
Hector was trained as an architect in Colombia, studied in Sweden, and worked in housing projects in Chile before immigrating to Canada in 2001. Some of his most recent portfolio of work includes the Architizer award-winning Yonge Sheppard Centre with BDP Quadrangle; and the AIA award-winning York University New Student Centre with Cannon Design.
To learn more about Hector, check out his LinkedIn profile.
Featured Guests / Juan Carlos Portuese
Juan Carlos Portuese is an accomplished Architect recognized for his commitment to creating meaningful and inclusive environments that are artful, practical, sustainable and that celebrate the communities, cultures, and environments they serve.
In a career spanning over two decades, he has led and collaborated on the conceptualization, design, and management of multiple Institutional, Office, Labs, Multi-Family Residential and Campus Master plan projects across Canada, the US, and internationally. Recently, Juan Carlos has led the Centennial A-Block expansion project, the first Mass Timber, Zero Carbon Higher-Education facility to be built in Canada.
Juan Carlos believes that great projects happen through great teamwork. He strives to build cordial, enthusiastic, and collaborative environments that bring people together. He is dedicated to advancing the architectural discipline through the purposeful integration of design, technical innovation, and advanced project delivery methods.
To learn more about Juan Carlos, check out his portfolio and LinkedIn profile.
Featured Guests / Arancha González Bernardo
Arancha González Bernardo (B.Sc.Arch, M.Arch: ETSAC, A Coruña, Spain; BCIN) is a Spanish architect and co-founder of Odami, an architectural and design firm based out of Toronto, Canada.
Founded in 2018, the studio focuses on residential and commercial projects, supplemented with material experimentation and furniture and object design. Odami's work has been published internationally, including Dezeen, Frame, Azure, Thisispaper, Elle Decor, Architectural Digest, and several others.
Prior to co-founding Odami, Arancha worked in offices in Spain, Austria, and Canada, collaborating on projects ranging from residential to large-scale corporate and commercial, in cities across Europe and North America. Arancha completed her studies in Architecture at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura in La Coruña, Spain, with a specialty in Theory and Design.
In addition to Odami, Arancha is a Sessional Lecturer at the School of Interior Design of the Toronto Metropolitan University .
Featured Guests / Rajesh Kheni
Rajesh Kheni has more than 19 (11 years Canadian Transit Sector P3/DBB) years of international experience in Land Use Transportation Planning & design of Transit facilities (Subway /multi model stations, airport terminal, vehicle facilities) in a team of executives in government and multinational consulting firms in Canada, UAE, Oman and India.
Rajesh brings hands on experience as Technical Advisor and Metrolinx/TTC representative to manage consultant, sub-consultant to significantly reduce P3 project technical risks through Reference Concept Design (RCDs), Project Specific Output Specification (PSOS), compliance review and negotiation with bidders during in-market, and post award contract period to protect project interest. Rajesh is also specialized in managing early work Design-Bid-Build (DBB) contracts which requires complex Facilities design, Civil works-utilities relocation, properties acquisition, community liaison, Traffic and Transit Management Plan, and preparation of various Agreements to de-risk projects from potential claims.
Rajesh is managing underground segment of YNSE Project (All Underground Stations, Emergency Exit Building etc.) at Metrolinx. He previously worked for WSP as Project Manager and managed Eglinton Cross-town LRT Stations (2011-2016) and led the 4Transit Joint Venture Team ( WSP, Hatch & Parsons) wherein he delivered RCDs and PSOS of 4 New GO Stations and State of good repair of existing 25 GO Stations.
Rajesh earned his Master of Civil Engineering Degree from University of Toronto; Master of Urban and Regional Planning, Bachelor of Architecture and Certification in Infrastructure Planning from India. He is a member of Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) with designations in EIT, PMP from Project Management Institute (PMI) and CP3P Foundation Certification from APMG International to name a few.
Click on the pictures above to learn more about our Featured Guests.
More guests are being added as they are confirmed.
The health and safety of our participants and volunteers is our top priority. For this event capacity has been limited to allow for additional space for physical distancing. In addition, all attendees are required to have at least two doses of a Health Canada approved vaccine as per venue policy.
About the TSA CONNECT Series
Join the Toronto Society of Architects for evenings of networking and relationship building as featured guests from Toronto’s architecture and design industry share their experiences, perspectives and advice on issues of practice, career, and life. Each session will feature new guests, topics and small group discussions giving participants the opportunity to ask questions and form connections with our featured guests. Sessions, featured guests and dates will be announced as they are confirmed, with limited tickets for each session released with the TSA member bulletin so make sure to sign up so you don’t miss out!
This event is free for TSA members using the discount code found in the latest e-bulletin! Not a member yet? You can join here (and student memberships are free!).
Newcomer in Architecture Information Session 2022 | November 9, 2022