National rankings of architecture schools usually show up in the popular press around this time of year. Design Intelligence surveys all of the Deans and Chairs of architecture schools in the United States to see who wins the popularity contest each year. Judson never measures up because it is a young program and fairly invisible to the broader architecture and design culture. Judson doesn’t have partners in the multi-national design firms, or philanthropic/activist alumni (yet!).

But we would like to draw attention to an area of success that may surprise you. Judson University takes seriously the preparation of young emerging professionals in architecture, in the context of a liberal arts and Christian higher education mission. The pass rates for the nationally administered architecture registration exam are one indicator of the success of any architecture program that is indeed preparing graduates to practice in the field. If you are interested in the measurable results of the investment made in higher education, please take a minute to review this data. You will see that Judson graduates perform better on the licensing exams that almost every other school in the state of Illinois, in almost every category! It’s a great time to be a Judson Eagle.

2012 NCARB JUDSON PASS RATES

 

2012 License Exam Pass Rates JUDSON GRADS

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Graduate Winter Intensives

The graduate students recently completed the first offering of a winter intensive program of study aimed at bolstering their areas of concentration. With concentrations in sustainable design and traditional architecture and urbanism, the winter intensive program sought to sharpen affinity areas in addition to the core curriculum. Students worked together, one group at Judson with Professor Robin Randall and Dr. David Ogoli, and the other in Washington, D.C., with Architect Michael Watkins, on projects intended to drill down into content areas of interest to the students. The program continues to revise and improve mentoring in the areas of concentration that are most compelling to the graduate students as they prepare for professional practice.

Snapshots of student testimonials for each of the two programs follows:

To design any building in a mere four days is a challenge. To design that building with the highest measure of sustainability in mind seemed a feat beyond imagining. This was the challenge posed to the students of in the Sustainable Design concentration of the M.Arch. program at Judson. On the banks of the Fox River, design a Net Zero Energy, Net Zero Water, Zero Pollutant, and Net Zero Site Impact building. This building was to adhere to the Living Building Challenge 2.0 standard as much as possible, with specialized aspects designed by each student. Our experience was greatly fulfilling, stretching our personal boundaries as we sought efficiency and energy production in the midst of a group project. The final design product emerged from a confluence of ideas, with multiple hands sketching, erasing, revising, and correcting. This project forced us to examine the bones of the Living Building Challenge document, and how these ideas could be interpreted in different circumstances. We went through the phases of site design, landscaping, program-oriented architectural formation, building-integrated energy production, structural design, and water collection/remediation. Having just returned from a month-long break, this experience seemed to “restart” the creative juices that had begun to settle over our Christmas holiday.

-Loren Johnson, SD Concentration

For five days in mid-January, the Traditional Architecture and Urbanism students from Judson University were immersed in a study of practical application of their education under the direction of Washington, D.C. architect Mike Watkins. The visit was centered around three components:  office visits, drawing exercises, and reviews of fall semester work. The group also visited a wide variety of offices specializing in an array of building types and project sizes. Connections were made both through Mike Watkin’s network of area architects and planners as well as through alumni who were working in many of the offices. The group presented the fall semester studio master plan for the southwest quadrant to the District of Columbia Office of Planning and the Office of Historic Preservation.  The response was overwhelmingly favorable.  The experience alone of presenting work before a panel of professionals who review such proposals often was invaluable for the students. Another component of study was that of small-scale detail design for the purpose of understanding human scale and one’s ability to relate to detail in building design.  The students visited three locations where they were asked to do an analytique study of the components of the building that were designed to appeal to viewers from a variety of distances.

– Hilary S. Jackson, TAU concentration

Judson graduate students competed against students from the University of Minnesota and the University of Oregon in a recent student competition for green US housing. David Montoya and Philip Goestenkors earned second place in a competition for a new affordable green single family house in Proctor, MN as part of a USGBC MN chapter student competition. Their scheme was judged as practical and realizable for the $150K budget and realistic in terms of achieving a LEED for Homes certification. Heather Juhl and Kyle Mertensmeyer earned an honorable mention for their approach which used reclaimed quonset building materials and rammed earth construction in a showcase work of art with regional cues.

Montoya and Goestenkors scheme featuring basic building components and passive solar with ERV and radiant floor heating.

Juhl and Mertensmeyer approach featuring rammed earth construction and quonset materials recalling the dominant agricultural and railroad shipping context.

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JU Architecture Turns –> 15 <--

2012 Marks the 15th anniversary of the architecture program at Judson University. Accredited in 2004 by the NAAB, we are celebrating this year with a number of exciting events and ceremonies. March 15-16 marks the inaugural On Christ and Architecture symposium exploring the intersection of Christian faith and architecture. In late April, the program will graduate its 10th Master of Architecture class. This summer, the program will begin a study of the 5th year Post-Occupancy Evaluation of the LEED Gold Harm Weber Academic Center. In September, when school resumes for the fall, the program will host its second annual Fall Practice Symposium. Check back often to discover the exciting things underway at Judson University Department of Architecture.

JU architecture turns 15

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.

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!

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