Hampton University’s second year architecture students are learning about gravitational forces and lateral loads by designing post and beam structures using a simple kit of parts (and adhering to a lot of fairly complicated rules).
The intention of the assignment is for students to learn about cantilevering, stacking, and hinging. They also have to respond to environmental factors and work together in groups to enhance the site design concept developed by another student in the studio. You can see one of the site design models in the photos below. The cardboard frames you see represent the structural systems of small cabins that nestle into the site design.
I’ve asked them to build the structures at such a large scale (1″=1′) so they can really get the feel of what the various structural components are capable of doing. Once they achieve suitable concepts, they will model their frames in wood.
Fingers cross that that will happen by Wednesday! Thanksgiving is just around the corner… only three weeks of classes left to go this semester… so much to learn, so little time. They still have to have the interior space, design building skins, and illustrate their designs with diagrams and measured drawings. All that, in addition to completing their Physics, Architectural Representation, Architecture History, and Architectural Ecology course work. Whew!
This group is designing cabins for a “Global Unity Camp.”
This group is evaluating the design of a structure based on the form of a tree.
Cedric and Sheldyn are working on a cluster of cabins for “Camp Nebula.”
Last week I got to talk with a group of 60+ architecture students and faculty about design thinking, student development theory, and my Fulbright research… as well as how they connect to what we do in our department at Hampton University. Moments like these help us reflect on what we are. I hope they will also encourage my compatriots to explore ideas about what we want to become.
My current research is situated in the constructivist paradigm. What does that mean?
Well, my research ideas and techniques are founded on the principle that we humans construct the world around us — including the things we see and touch, how we know, and what we know — and that we are able to generate new knowledge.
By discussing such topics, and considering collectively what it means to “design” and to “know” and to “learn,” we can become more international, purposeful, and effective in the things we do each day.
One of our students, Rhama Mohammed, snapped some photos during the talk and loaded them into our Facebook page (I’m posting copies here). This provides a little glimpse of our department’s reality… surrounded by teachers (unfortunately, we don’t have images of any students in the crowd)… and a highly animated presenter.
Many thanks to Daisy for inspiring me to draw so much on my trip to Rome… we have always been very productive at sketching when we travel together. In this post, I’ve included photos of one of our many dinner outings.
On my last night in Rome, Daisy and I headed over to Trastevere–stopping for a glimpse of the basilica (dedicated to Santa Maria, where mass was in session) before heading on to our favorite dinner spot. As is generally the case when Daisy and I are traveling with architecture students, we brought our sketchbooks along to discuss.
I’ve included photos of Daisy’s beautiful work, that caught the attention of our waitress. She studied every page!
Daisy’s area of expertise is architectural representation, as is evident in her drawings! Mine, on the other hand, is educational research… that’s what I presented to Daisy’s students in the lecture I delivered.
As a result of our exchange, I woke up inspired to draw on my last day in Rome.
It was hot, hot, hot, though. I had to sketch quickly to keep ahead of the heat! By the afternoon, the sky opened up and the rain poured down. Thankfully our fore bearers built plenty of sheltered spots in Rome that have lovely views! I made three sketches on my parting day–two are shown below.
Daisy and I stopped in at Sta. Maria in Trastevere…
and the doors were open to celebrate mass.
Two priests spread incense.
At dinner, Daisy showed me her watercolor work…
and her drawings fascinated our waitress.
What a gorgeous pen drawing of the monument to Victor Emmanuel.
We had such fun!
The next day, I visited the Pantheon…
…for a quick sketch.
And when I noticed rain was on the way, I headed to the courtyard designed by Bramante, adjacent to Santa Maria della Pace.
I made my last sketch in Rome, for this trip, under the shelter of Bramante’s cloister.
Taylor, Katie, Daisy, Cody, and me deep in conversation over a design proposal.
On Tuesday, I delivered a lecture to the University of Oregon architecture students here in Rome. Daisy made me feel like a million bucks with her introduction! We worked together at Hampton University from 2005-2010 and got to know each other well. I miss her, but I’m thrilled that she’s doing so well for herself!
In the talk, I shared examples of the research I’ve been doing and discussed the need for architects to expand their research abilities.
After the lecture, three of the students presented their design progress. Daisy, the other students, and I gave feedback and ideas for further development.
A scheme for getting down to the water…
…as seen from the other side of the Tiber River.
Models are great for helping visualize space.
Here’s Cody’s model of the site’s existing qualities…
…and a conceptual sketch of his along with a list of design objectives.
In our group on Tuesday…
…everybody got involved in sharing ideas.
We had lots of interesting work…
Hampton University sketching in Paris, on a rainy day.
Spent a lovely week in Paris, much of it with Hampton University’s architecture program. I’ve attached a few of the pics I snapped with my iPhone. I’m back in Dublin now, and getting around to downloading the photos from my Nikon. The photos will help me reminisce of my travels once I head back to the States. I might even have time to write something meaningful on my blog once again….
For now, pictures will have to do!
Reflection in Paris
A passage, or gallery, of Paris.
An early map of the world
Teh Louvre, with a dramatic sky.
Hotel de Ville
Hotel de Ville
Reflection in a puddle.
The music festival in full swing.
In the middle of the Seine.
Baby bottles!?! You just never know in Paris….
I’d never been to Uzes, France even though some of my Hampton University architecture students had. Uzes is home of the famous urbanist, Leon Krier, though we didn’t get to meet him there this year. We often use his book, The Architecture of Community, in my Urban Theory class.
Visiting Uzes made for a wonderful day of learning and exploring. I even wrapped with two decent sketches of my own.
Arriving in Uzes, Mason sent us off…
…into the market…
…and lunch on our own.
Then to work–sketching…
…and discovering details of the town.
Learning to sketch from Ray Gindroz…
…a famous architect and urban designer.
One of my sketches in progress.
A courtyard of Uzes.
A street in Uzes.
A small little plaza along a street in Uzes.
My sketch of the market square, after the market finished.
The trees make this plaza very pleasant.
Nimes is a beautiful town in southern France that is chock full of Roman artifacts. It’s where I met the Hampton University architecture students, mid-way through their study abroad program in France. I typically organize one of these trips each summer. This year, Prof. Mason Andrews had the whole cohort of third-year architecture students on the trip to France–some years we offer two different trips.
The new plaza outside Nimes’ train station
The organizers of the 2013 Hampton University architecture trip to France: Mason Andrews, Ray Gindroz, and Dave Chance.
A church in Nimes.
The Roman arena in Nimes.
An arch at the Place Marche.
The Masion Caree… freshly renovated.
Dave and his cafe gourmand.
A modern housing complex outside the historic center.
As per my prior post, Iroda Karimova said in earnest (while I was visiting the Hampton University Department of Architecture two weeks ago) that she misses my crits! (!?!!??)
Because I’m an active blogger I’m forever getting the question, “Do you ever work?”
The answer is yes; here’s a quick example.
My former student int he Department of Architecture at Hampton University, Iroda Karimova, emailed this to me from her smart phone today:
It was also nice to talk to you too. We haven’t see you for a while. I hope you are enjoying your oversea experience. I sometimes read your blogs, to see how you we doing.
Yes sometimes I wish I could hear your critiques, especially when I did good :). Your critiques were short, to the point, emphasizing important accomplishments, and sometimes not too enjoyable but helpful.
See you soon.
Whew! It sounds like I was doing my job correctly. Part of that job is to help students learn to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. I’ve got to challenge them to address weaknesses I see. Effective teaching requires a careful balance of challenge and support (Sanford, 1962). I aim to provide that and to help students reach just a bit farther than they are comfortable doing (this is called a “plus-one” approach to teaching).
Good students, like Iroda, recognize that challenges are presented to help them grow and that the professor’s main role is to help guide them in their own learning. Receiving critique is never pain free, but it is necessary for growth and development.
Here’s the very quick reply I dashed off:
Thanks for your note, Iroda!
You always do excellent work. I wanted to make sure to help you reach for the stars, though. You’re really terrific at technical ways of thinking. As a second-year instructor, my job is to try to help students develop fluency in multiple ways of thinking… particularly the ways they find foreign or uncomfortable.
I’ve attached a chart to explain (it’s from a paper I was working on Tuesday). Most students come to college very good at one corner/quadrant of the chart. You were exceptionally good at Convergent thinking. I’d say you left second year with new skills in that realm, but more importantly, with new skills in the other three quadrants as well.
Below is a chart I made to describe Kolb’s (1984) theory. It is based on a similar chart published by Evens, Forney, and Guido-DiBrito (1998). You can read more in the paper I created for the National Conference on the Beginning Design Student (MADE Proceedings Chance Writing Architecture
). If you reference it, please cite the source. The citation for the paper is:
CHANCE, S.M. (2010).Writing architecture: The role of process journals in architectural education. MADE: Design education and the art of making (160‐170). Charlotte, NC: College of Arts + Architecture. Presented at the 26th National Conference on the Beginning Design Student in Charlotte, NC.
Bemis lawn with Bemis Laboratories to the right, home of the Hampton University Department of Architecture.
I almost forgot to show you my January 2013 visit to Hampton University. The semester starts earlier there than at most universities, so I had the chance to visit before returning to Dublin, and while HU classes were in session. That way I could see my students as well as other professors. I snapped some photos along the way of things that caught my eye….
Everything seemed the same, until I got to the main stair. I never expected to see a big photo of myself mounted in this prominent location!
I caught up with many of my former students. All these folks have travelled with me to Italy: Ed Glover, Alex Taylor, prof. Mason Andrews, and Sharlita Green.
Iroda Karimova said in earnest that she misses my crits! (!?!!??)
One of students garnered a donation of plotters from HP. Way to go!
This is the interior of the new student center…
…with its grande central stair wrapped by a third-floor track for running.
Our campus has such rich history — architecturally, socially, and culturally.
I wandered around campus delivering Christmas presents. Here’s our lovely Trustee House.
Because I blog about the experiences I’m having much more often than about than the research I’ve been doing, people sometimes ask me if I’ve been getting any work done at all. The answer is, emphatically, YES!
The Fulbright program IS about doing scholarly work. But it’s also about learning. It’s about making the space in our lives to get to know other people and how they do things… to remove ourselves from the ordinary humdrum long enough to learn something that’s radically new to us as Americans, but not new at all in other places.
Fulbright scholars DO have lectures to give, papers to write, and projects to conduct. But in the end, the most valuable part of our experiences overseas rests in the friendships we make and the respect we build for each other’s culture. That, I see, as my primary mission.
This type of cultural give-and-take is evident in the images I brought back from Tanzania — so I’ve decided to share a few here. Most are from the 2005 Fulbright-Hays program I conducted for college students from the US and Tanzania. You can also read about a lecture I gave on the topic of African architecture. I’ll be delivering that lecture again in Belgium this spring….
Kelly Thacker (a student who was studying student affairs in Kansas) learned about urban design by working Tanzanian and US architecture students.
Here, Emmanuel James (from Tanzania) and Lauren Doran (a Virginia Tech landscape architecture student at the time) discuss strategies for city design.
We worked inside the architecture building (shown here) at the College of Lands and Architectural Studies.
But we learned a world more about life than just urban design.
We learned how Tanzanians celebrate weddings and funerals.
How they care for their young and old people.
How they have built traditionally…
…used their resources…
…and buried their dead.
We saw Christians and Muslims living side by side in harmony.
And noticed differences and similarities in the way humans live.
As one specific example, we developed new appreciation for the role of water in living, and…