(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’s 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

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

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.

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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