Kyle Mertensmeyer, a 2011 M.Arch graduate, has recently moved to Shanghai to work in the international design firm Gensler. Already an accomplished practitioner, working previously with the Phoenix firm Swaback Partners, Kyle distinguished himself in graduate school at Judson by placing second in the Chicago AIA graduate student competition earlier this year, and earning an honorable mention with teammate Heather Juhl for a USGBC MN Chapter housing competition.

He reports in the first week of his new gig in China, he was given leadership responsibility for a tall building design project and is slated to be in a leadership post for a new project firing up in the next couple weeks.

Judson University prepares students to be leaders in their field. A meaningful, faith-based context allows students to develop their gifts in design, technology, history and theory to their fullest potential. Kyle exemplifies this Judson distinctive, and the faculty are extremely proud of him and wish him the best.

(Elgin, IL – August 2, 2011) The Department of Architecture at Judson University cordially invites Chicago area businesses and architects to join them for their first ever architectural symposium on Thursday, September 8 through Friday, September 9.

This inaugural event, which will focus on architecture and urbanism in China, will begin with a keynote address from Gordon Gill of Chicago-based firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architects, on Thursday evening at 7 p.m. Gill’s address is free of admission and open to the public.

Friday’s proceedings, beginning at 8:30 a.m., will feature lectures from experts such as Dr. Linan Liu of the Beijing University School of Civil Engineering and Architecture, and architects from Chicago-based firms including Professor Thomas Kong of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Luke Lueng of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLC; Travis Soberg of Goettsch Partners, Inc.; Clark Baurer of McBride Kelley Baurer Architects; and Paul Sterner of the Chicago based firm Oculus Architecture, Inc.

Dr. Jhennifer Amundson, Judson professor of architectural history and theory, and Judson’s Architecture Department Chair, Keelan Kaiser, will also lead lectures. Those who wish to attend Friday’s lectures may register online at a cost of $50 per person.

Both Thursday and Friday’s lectures will be held in Judson’s Herrick Chapel. A closing reception will be held in the Draewell Gallery of the Harm A. Weber Academic Center, a LEED Gold Certified building that houses the Judson University School of Art, Design and Architecture and the university‚Äôs Benjamin P. Browne Library. The gallery will feature student work from the architecture programs at Judson University and Beijing University School of Civil Engineering and Architecture. Guided tours of the Weber Center will be conducted for guests. Refreshments will also be served.

The fall symposium will be the first in a bi-annual series open to Judson’s architecture students along with Chicago-area businesses, architects, city planners and those interested in working and serving the architectural and manufacturing industries worldwide.

“The university is making concerted efforts to expand international relations and exchanges,” says Judson Architecture Department Chair Keelan Kaiser. Kaiser has visited China twice in the past two years for the university, as well as for the National Architectural Accrediting Board, for which he currently serves as president-elect.

This first symposium will examine contemporary architectural practice in China and what opportunities exist for engagement with Chinese culture and building disciplines, a result of recently developed ties between Judson’s Department of Architecture and the Beijing University School of Civil Engineering and Architecture. Kaiser visited the school this past May to lecture on high performance building design in the United States and invited BUCEA Dean Linan Liu to visit Judson this coming fall. Dean Liu’s five-day visit to the university will coincide with the September event.

Future symposia will have other areas of focus related to practice issues, and will include local practitioners as guests, says Kaiser. The Spring 2012 Symposium will focus on more missional themes, specifically through an evangelical and Christian worldview as it relates to architecture.

To register for the September Symposium, please visit arch.judsonu.edu/symposium.

Bethany D. Suckrow
Staff Writer, Social Media Manager, ’09 Alumna
Communications Team, External Relations
Judson University

Professor and Department Chair, Keelan Kaiser, visited schools in Germany and China during the summer 2010 promoting international exchanges of students and faculty. First visiting Anhalt University, where the Architecture Program already has an exchange program in place, Kaiser toured new facilities, exceptional faculty and students, and a great atmosphere to study abroad. Anhalt University is on the site of the old Bauhaus program, historically famous for multi-disciplinary studies in design. Today, the program boasts a strong emphasis in sustainable practice, something Germany was developing long before the current “green craze” in the USA. Truly we have a lot to learn from our German counterparts and Judson is excited about growing this exchange program and relationship.

The Anhalt University Dessau campus recently received significant funding to renovate and restore its beautiful campus. The historic Bauhaus is in the background of this photograph.

The Anhalt University Dessau campus recently received significant funding to renovate and restore its beautiful campus. The historic Bauhaus is in the background of this photograph.

Dessau train station, a 10 minute walk from the Anhalt University campus, allows travel to Berlin within an hour.

Dessau train station, a 10 minute walk from the Anhalt University campus, allows travel to Berlin within an hour.

Professor Kaiser visited Beijing University discussing possible future relationships between Judson University and their architecture program. The program is exemplary, training traditional construction technique and also contemporary urban design and building design. The faculty and administration are eager to explore ways which we might cooperate in the future. Kaiser also observed the rapid explosion of construction and development in China firsthand and is excited about connecting Judson students and faculty with the growing influence and marketplaces in China and the east.

Faculty and Administrators from Beijing University tour student exhibits Professor Kaiser

Faculty and Administrators from Beijing University tour student exhibits with Dr. Cain and Professor Kaiser

Examples of student work on exhibit at Beijing University

Examples of student work on exhibit at Beijing University

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