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New Year – New Thrill at Judson!

This is a great time of the year. Every thing is new. Optimism is high. We are looking forward to a great spring. Here is a sampling of the goings on at Judson Architecture: a NAAB accreditation visit; third year and graduate elective studios; awesome super specialized electives in acoustics, energy, Chicago history, and digital fabrication; comprehensive and integrative design works; second annual James Didier On Christ and Architecture Symposium; guest architect lecturers; Cyndi Zarris (mom away from mom); planning for study abroad. The list goes on and on. What a great time at Judson University!

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

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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