As the ICAA’s four-week, immersive Summer Studio in Classical Architecture is coming to a close, we sat down with three students to hear their thoughts on the program:
Interview with Kelly Umutoni
Lecture on urbanism with Mike Watkins
Is it different than what you expected?
It’s a lot more rigorous than I thought.
What skills have you acquired?
Being able to understand space and how to organize it and proportion well and relate to it. I think that’s really important to understand before the design begins.
How’s the design project going?
Good. When they first told us we were going to do an Esquisse in two and a half hours, I didn’t believe it was going to be possible. But, we’ve come really far.
Have they provided sufficient guidance?
Yes, the lecturers especially have helped a lot to get to the final design.
Have you hand-drafted before?
No. The first perspective we did the other day in class was my first hand-constructed perspective. Yes, I like it better than the computer. It helps me understand how things are put together better.
Most transformative experience?
Getting to do the office visits are really cool. We forget about the whole other side to Architecture school which is the business side, the professional practice.
Interview with Sasha Pokrovskaya
How have you been enjoying the program?
Absolutely loving it. The program is excellent. I only wish it could be stretched out into an extra week!
I’ve enjoyed several of the lectures, especially the ones with Professor Westfall architecture as a civic act, New Urbanism with Mike Watkins and measured drawing with George Suamarez Smith. I’ve loved being able to study the theory of a design element and then to be able to go into the city and see those principles in use. The lectures on materials have been very insightful as well.
Has the program changed your thought process?
This program has not changed my thought process as much as confirmed my design instincts and interests. The professors have been very helpful. I’m really glad I’m here and would recommend the program to all.
Interview with Jack Duncan
I’m Jack Duncan. I’m from Charleston, South Carolina. I went to the College of Charleston, and I studied Historic Preservation and Art History with a concentration in Architectural History. I’m here because I’m testing out the ideas of classical architecture and my pursuit of architecture. I’m applying to the University of Notre Dame in the fall for Graduate School, so I thought this would be a nice intro to classicism. Everything we’ve done has been extremely intensive, extremely informative. It’s nice that there’s so many people that are at the top of the classicism game teaching us. We can trust them. All of the people we’ve had lectures from are also at the top of academia concerning classical and traditional architecture, Richard Economakis, Bill Westfall, Christine Franck, all just very heavy hitters in the practice. So I’m grateful that I get to do this. I come from Charleston, which is a very traditional city. The city is of a different scale and proportion than New York. If I wasn’t from Charleston, I think I’d only yearn more for an opportunity like this to come in contact with classicism and the things we’re studying here.
The most advantageous thing is seeing working architects at the professional practice visits. Seeing how things happen and learning about them are very different.
The two architects I work for in Charleston are both from Notre Dame. The famous thing they say all the time is “Architects make drawings.” When they say that they laugh off the difficulty it takes to gain not only an Architect’s degree, but a classical Architect’s degree. There’s this paradigm of how you do things, how things fit together that we design off of that nobody knows. This experience has given me clarity on that. I know how things fit together now, the tectonics. They were blurry and fuzzy before. You know that incorporating a colonnade to the front of a building isn’t just like putting a stamp on an envelope. It has to fit and work tectonically. So the program is really clarifying tectonic structure in my mind. I actually understand in my mind now and move that from my mind to my hand and into my drawings.
My favorite event or activity or speaker has to be a three-way tie between Richard Economakis, Bill Westfall, and George Saumarez Smith. George Saumarez Smith was young, so he was amazing at connecting with us and helping us understand measured drawings and the process of sketching. Richard and Bill helped from a more academic approach, imparting their knowledge that they’ve acquired throughout their careers. Not that George didn’t do that as well. They just met us where we were skill-wise and knowledge-wise in different ways.