Making the Mark as an Enterprise Rose Fellow

Mark (to the far left) with community members from Boston.

Mark Matel (to the far left) with community activists in Boston.

Thanks to a Facebook post by my (awesome) former student, Elbert Whitfield, I just discovered an article titled Enterprise Rose Fellowship Redefines Community Design at NeighborWorks Organizations, which features former student Mark Matel.

I’ve worked with many extraordinary students at Hampton University, like Elbert and Mark.

Today, I’m boasting of Mark Paulo Ramos Matel’ success.  I had the honor of teaching Mark in architectural design studios, study abroad, and environmental sustainability courses while he was working toward his Master of Architecture degree at HU.

Mark Matel (right) with fellow student Leon Peters presenting a second year design project at Hamtpon University.

Mark Matel (right) with fellow student Leon Peters presenting a second year design project at Hamtpon University.

Mark was an ideal candidate for the Enterprise Rose Fellowship, which the article explains is “a highly competitive and innovative program that places some of the nation’s finest early career architects in underserved communities across the country to team up with community development host organizations.”

Mark is intrinsically motivated to succeed, to help people, and to spearhead new initiatives.  His energy level, work ethic, creativity, self-direction, and ability to collaborate effectively were unparalleled among the students I have encountered in my 15 years of university-level teaching.

Mark was a major player in the formation of our department’s Studio Culture Policy and he represented our department impressively at the local and state level.

An exhibition that Mark and his colleagues Brandon Clarke, Smitty Lynch, coordinated along with other members of our spring break trip to Prague.

An exhibition that Mark and his colleagues Brandon Clarke, Smitty Lynch, coordinated along with other members of our spring break trip to Prague.

He is also a highly skilled designer, as is evidenced in design awards from Auburn and Hampton Universities.

Mark earned a NAAB-accredited degree from Hampton University – a program emphasizes urban planning as well as architectural design – and he then earned a design-build degree from Auburn University to boot.

To interview for the Enterprise Rose Fellowship, he went to Boston along with the two other candidates (both from top Ivy league schools).  After a rigorous multi-day interview, representatives from the community and the fellowship program voted, and then wholeheartedly extended the three-year fellowship to Mark.

During his time at HU, Mark’s research regarding water systems in the Philippines, and his work with the Virginia AIA’s Emerging Leaders in Architecture (ELA) program, were particularly relevant in preparing him for his work as an Enterprise Rose Fellow.

Mark sketching in Prague.

Mark sketching in Prague.

Marks’ activities all had an underlying theme of social activism related to the built environment.  He has always been able to think and work at multiple scales and with complex, inter-related issues.  His architectural studies enhanced these abilities.

Our department nominated Mark to represent Hampton University as part of Virginia AIA’s ELA program and his work with the organization exceeded our expectations.  The focus of the ELA program that year was on community revitalization and leadership.  Mark was highly engaged in his cohort’s project and he even defined the program for the subsequent year’s cohort.  (He identified specific conditions that needed to be addressed in Norfolk, Virginia and he helped get the new ELA group involved in fostering change where he knew it was needed.)

In his classes and teaching assistance-ships at Hampton University, Mark reflected a high level of engagement as well as what Daniel Goleman calls “emotional intelligence.”  Mark has the ability to share knowledge and to teach others techniques and strategies for improving themselves and their environments.

While he was at Hampton University, Mark was a very important part of defining a positive, learning culture within the academic context, as well as in the professional context (at the local and state levels) and in the larger community.

I couldn’t be prouder of Mark and all his many varied accomplishments.

You can see more of our trip to Prague in my archives.  My own presentation boards from Prague are also available for viewing.

Fleeting Glimpses

I’ve been so bogged down in grant- and conference-writing that I haven’t gotten to update you on the architecture studio’s progress.  I’m hoping to share some of the students’ findings soon. In the meantime, here are a few photos I snapped early last week.

It’s typically difficult to get our students interested in discussions of meaning and philosophy.  These are generally seen as esoteric.  But so far the group-based format seems to be eliciting a  higher level of engagement in fuzzy issues than I’ve witnessed here in recent years.

Interestingly, when I was in school, a professor might to give us just a word or two to explore.  S/he would expect us to invest a week or two of time to contemplate, make things, and refine our knowledge and skills.  Most of us were quite happy to oblige.  We’d make things without much prompting at all and find a lot of joy in it.  Today, students have to drive for hours to gather decent materials. And, in today’s digital milieu, making beautiful, physical things seems to be an alien concept.

Undercover in Rome

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.

Reshaping a Roman Site

I’m wrapping up my week as “Scholar in Residence” for the University of Oregon’s study abroad program in Rome. It’s been a fun and informative learning experience.

I’m posting images from the studio review we had on Thursday, to give you an idea of what it’s like to be an architecture student or professor.

These students have completed second year of a five-year professional degree program (leading to the Bachelor’s of Architecture degree). They will start third year in the fall.

They’ve done some very nice design work so far in their three-credit architecture studio class in Rome. Their site is an embankment wall, built in the late 1800s to keep the Tiber River from flooding the city as it has done for centuries.

According to Wikipedia:

The Tiber was once known for its floods — the Campus Martius is a flood plain and would regularly flood to a depth of 2 metres (6 ft 7 in). The river is now confined between high stone embankments which were begun in 1876. Within the city, the riverbanks are lined by boulevards known as lungoteveri, streets “along the Tiber.”

Penciling in Rome

Headed out for breakfast and a day of exploring in the breeze and sunshine of Rome.  Yesterday’s rain cooled the city down, and it’s amazingly comfortable today.  Hoping to get some more sketching in today.

Via dell'Arco del Monte

Via dell’Arco del Monte

 

UO Studio Review

Taylor, Katie, Daisy, Cody, and me deep in conversation over a design proposal.

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.

Drawing Marcello

Theatro Marcello in Rome

Theatro Marcello in Rome

The OU students put the in-studio drawing lesson (that Daisy Williams delivered Monday) to work on site today.  We met at ISU’s academic center and headed over to the nearby Teatro Marcello to draw.  The students practiced the charcoal and pastel techniques they’ve been learning, while I used the mechanical pencil I had on hand.

Drawing with Daisy

Daisy drawing class 1

My former colleague at Hampton University, Daisy Williams, is teaching two different classes in Rome this summer in addition to being the director of University of Oregon’s study abroad program in the ancient city. One is architecture studio and the other is a drawing course, pictured here.

Tomorrow, I’ll join the drawing course for a morning outing… so I’d better hit the sack now!

Secret Paris

The book Secret Paris sent me to many interesting but obscure sites nestled off the beaten path in Paris.  Not all were open or accessible.  But with a little patience, I found my way into some lovely spots that most tourists never see.

This was the first time I felt at home in Paris, and this little book helped a bit.  It helped me find some person-sized places.  It’s all too easy to see only the monumental scale sites of this city.  Paris is about monumentality and uniformity–especially along the boulevards. But he back streets and courtyards are often lively and quaint.

In Paris, sped some time avoiding the monuments. It’s much nicer to take a slow pace and find some nooks and crannies that you can call your own.

Here’s a sketch I made in one “secret” space of Paris… the courtyard of a set of 48 or so apartments northeast of the Opera.

Paris apartment complex sketch (1)

Perusing Paris

Hampton University sketches of Paris.

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!