Our 2011 field study took us from Rome to Granada: from what might be called the capital of Christendom to cities in southern Spain known for a period in which there was a religious and political conviviality among Christians, Jews, and Muslims.  I am especially grateful for Dr. Jhennifer Amundson’s leadership in taking us to these cities in Spain.

The architecture students investigated important examples of buildings, places, and cities: this field observation was facilitated by the use of pictorial and analytical drawing.  These students looked carefully at building type, the composition of facades, and meaningful ornament.  They considered the details that constitute a built environment that sustains the centuries old cultural environment of cities originating in the Roman Republic and thriving as modern cities in the present.

The fine art and graphic art students pursued their own work in media from drawing to watercolor to embroidery and subjects as a diverse as the figure (in galleries of sculpture to street performers) to landscape to patterns to typography.  Students with strong drawing skills set a very high standard for the entire group.

The sketchbooks of two students were noted for excellence: Margaret Garrison, fine art, and Eleanor Walter, architecture.  Our adjunct professor, Brian Mork, M.Arch.’11, set a challenging pace in the production of a prodigious, coherent, and excellent sketchbook of watercolors and drawings.

Recent Graduate and Study Tour Collaborating Faculty Member Brian Mork and Student Linda Romine

Observational drawing is easy enough to judge; more difficult, and perhaps more important, is the education gained from seeing the poverty in the rings round European cities to the unequaled quality of life observed in the public realm of the historic core of these same cities.  In group meetings, we reflected on the proximity of habitation in European cities but also the low density compared to our most successful cities: we asked ourselves, again and again, what in these marvelous built and visual environments is indispensable to human thriving.

Study Tour Class in Venice

This group was wonderful traveling company.  There are inevitably road bumps in a four-week long trip; there was flexibility and good-naturedness at these moments.  The work of the trip, not that it wasn’t mixed with plenty of fun and leisure time, was undertaken with seriousness.  We attended church services in Italian, English, and Spanish in liturgies familiar and not so.  There were culinary discoveries as diverse as that fact that gelato can be purchased in tubs to the taste of animal parts that are best left unnamed.  We mastered transportation systems ranging from national high speed rails, to local trains, to buses, to light rail, to the famous Venetian vaporetti.  And we walked, mostly up, probably 200 miles.

-Dr. Christopher Miller

Judson university graduate student Katie Guttormson has won the Chicago Women in Architecture scholarship for 2011. Submitting her senior studio project for a chapel at Shepard Air Force base in San Antonio, Texas from a national student competition, Katie outperformed students from the other regional Chicago architecture programs. The award carries a gift of $2000 and membership in the association. Katie has nearly completed a year of internship between her undergraduate and graduate degree programs working in an architects office and also serving as a missionary to India with eMi. The architecture department is very proud of Katie’s professional promise and leadership within the architecture community and congratulate her for this accomplishment!

Today Judson hosted many students and their families for a preview of university life at Judson University. A day-long event, students heard from the Dean as well as Department Chair, Keelan Kaiser, about the benefits of attending Judson University for the professional degree program in Architecture. One of the only locations in the U.S. offering an M.Arch. degree in the context of a faith-based institution, Judson is a unique place to study architecture, and nurture professional aspirations in architecture.

Dean Sartor and visitors to Judson University for SoADA Preview Day
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Attend Judson University – Fact #1

The future of design and architecture in the United States will be increasingly characterized by green building, sustainable architecture, adaptive re-use and historic preservation, and low-energy design. A look at the economy over the last 36 months demonstrates a complete, though temporary, stall in the construction industry for any projects requiring financing and most funded with existing capital. What will the future look like in the short and long term for the design and construction industries? What color is the new black? What will the future “plum” projects be for architects? These are the questions prospective students and their families should be asking as they decide which school to attend for an accredited architecture degree program.

Judson Fact #1 – Judson is the ONLY architecture program in the United States that is housed in a state of the art, mixed-mode naturally ventilated, green building. The Weber Center is in a class all its own, a LEED Gold learning center, and a learning laboratory for 21st century architecture practice. You can study at a school that takes field trips to case studies, or you can study architecture IN a case-study for energy efficient, passive solar, natural ventilation, and water resource management.


Judson University hosts Preview Days, specially designed for prospective architecture students, on February 21 or 25. The Department Chair, Professor Keelan Kaiser, presents the key features that distinguish architectural education in the very unique context of Judson. The program is housed in facilities that is in a class of its own; in one of the only LEED Gold buildings to study architecture in the world. Judson University is the only evangelical Christian institution in the United States that offers a professional M.Arch. degree program. The program is extremely unique in that it includes a full year of experiential learning, through a paid internship experience. Join other students from around the country and spend the day visiting the program, facilities, campus, faculty and students on February 21 or 25.

Judson University accepts a limited number of architecture students transferring in from other colleges and universities. Many universities and some colleges offer a pre-architecture beginning program, which hypothetically allows students to transfer into the third year of architecture at Judson. However, Judson requires all students to formally apply to the third year (the pre-professional years) of the program by February 15 each year, including transfer students. So if you are considering applying to JU, and you are transferring two years of pre-architecture program credit into JU, please note the departmental deadline of Feb 15, 2013.

All architects are trained early in their career that architecture is a social art. We create spaces and places for people to dwell in, to provide shelter, and to engage the imagination. When possible, we have opportunities to get involved in great projects for affluent patrons. When that happens, we have the privilege of realizing in built form…poetry. At the completely opposite end of the spectrum, far from the poetics of space, witness the current work of Katie Guttormson. Katie is working with Engineering Ministries International (eMi) serving as a design intern in India for her year-long M.Arch. internship. Designing a World of Hope for the physically and spiritually poor; this is the eMi vision. Dig through Katie’s blog to see what she is doing to educate herself to the needs of the others. Serving others with design talents developed in professional architecture education at Judson, especially those in need while sharing the truth of the gospel, is a natural outcome of a Christian architecture program. We are proud of Katie as she demonstrates the unique focus that distinguishes architecture graduates of Judson University from all others.

Katie with students in India

Katie with students in India

Katies Blog

Students and Parents…The economy is tough for the architecture, engineering and construction industries. Do you wonder which schools are delivering an education that translates into job prospects? Consider Judson University, the only professional M.Arch. degree program in the country in the context of evangelical Christian community. Through extensive experiential learning opportunities, Judson students are academically prepared to lead the future of architectural practice. Within the past two weeks four recent graduates have secured full time employment in architecture offices around the country; one of the four working for a community development organization improving local community. Consider Judson for architecture education in a faith-based program and context; and one that delivers an education that is unrivaled for career development.

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Career Day in Chicago at IIT

Chicago area high school students interested in exploring career opportunities in the areas of architecture, building and construction should attend the Chicago Architecture + Design Career Day hosted by the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago on October 16, 2010. Over 50 architecture and design schools will be on hand to talk with students and parents about their programs for architecture education. Judson will have an admissions councilor and the Assistant Chair for Undergraduate Programs, Prof. Ian Hoffman, at the event. For more information and to register

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Computer or iPad?

Trying to decide whether to get a new computer or laptop for college?

At Judson Architecture we do all our studio work by hand for the first two years of the program to invest deeply in tactile “making.” Prospective, first and second years students, consider an iPad with a keyboard charging station instead of a new computer. With apps for everything you could need, including Pages and Numbers, for all the needs you might have for papers and reports, as well as internet information, we recommend an iPad for under $700 rather than a computer. All architecture students have a required laptop purchase in the fall of third year, so this is a better investment and gives ultimate portability. Since almost every space on campus is served by wireless, this is a very affordable option for computing flexibility. The 3G option is not required.

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