(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!

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