Follow the ICAA’s Summer Studio in Classical Architecture program, from June 19th through July 15th, as students from across the country spend four weeks in New York City and the surrounding region exploring the ideas, methods, and issues related to classical architectural design.
June 19, by Analis Ramos: The rainy weather could not stop us from having a marvelous first day at the ICAA’s Summer Studio. We kicked off the morning with a warm welcome from the faculty followed by student introductions, where we learned more about our respective backgrounds and styles.
After lunch we dove right into the program, kicking off our studio with a lesson on the columnar orders, followed by our first exercise of measuring ratios and the parts of columns.
We finished the evening with a thrilling lecture by Russell Windham, a founding partner of Curtis & Windham Architects and ICAA Board Chairman, on the book: A Vision of Place: The Work of Curtis & Windham Architects. We could not have asked for a better start to what will undoubtedly be an incredible summer!
June 20, by Analis Ramos: Tuesday we hit the ground running with a lesson on the elements of the Tuscan order, the entablature, pediment, and temple front. We then had hands-on experience practicing how to proportionally draw these elements.
Later in the day, we took a trip to the ICAA’s Cast Hall where we split into small groups to practice our analytical and measured drawing skills, using balustrades as our focus.
We capped the day off with an informative lecture from Richard Economakis, the Director of Architecture and Urbanism for the University of Notre Dame’s Graduate program. He spoke to us about different architects’ approaches to the proportions of the orders and introduced us to the esquisse, a design problem that we would have to solve in class the next day.
June 21, by Andrew Anderson: On Wednesday, we were given the opportunity to apply our drawings of the Tuscan order to our first design project of the Summer Studio.
Guided by visiting professor Richard Economakis, each of us had the morning to develop a basic scheme for an aedicule addition to a theoretical monument in Prospect Park. We then spent the afternoon developing our design in plan, section, and elevation, following the traditional Beaux Arts design process consisting of a rough esquisse followed by a more complete analytique.
In the evening, James McCrery, director of The Catholic University of America’s Classical Concentration, presented Roman Catholic Church architecture projects designed by McCrery Architects. Students then had a chance to meet with their mentor architects, as part of the ICAA’s new mentorship initiative.
June 22, by Andrew Anderson: On Thursday, we spent the morning learning about the second of the five major classical orders, by drawing the parts of the Doric order according to the proportions determined by Vignola.
In the afternoon, we built on our practice of measured drawings from Tuesday afternoon by taking a trip to Bryant Park, where we drew balustrades in the field, as well as a detail from the east facade of the New York Public Library.
The evening concluded with a presentation by Mike Watkins on urban design in preparation for Saturday’s trip to Forest Hills Gardens in Queens.
June 23, by Andrew Jackson: On Friday we took a site visit to Prospect Park and did measured drawings with architects Michael Mesko and Stephen Chrisman. The beautiful site had an array of classical elements for us to study.
Our first task of the day was a measured drawing of a dodecagonal pavilion near the war monument. We then transitioned through the park taking note of the differences in the primary, secondary, and tertiary entrances. Chrisman also showed the class how to estimate size by pacing at a small memorial.
Next we visited the project site for our studio, which is located at 15th Street and Prospect Park West, where we learned the two existing columns are proportionately consistent with the golden section.
We continued to make our way through the park and noticed an interesting structure composed of ionic columns in conjunction with a wood member. We had a brief lesson in tectonics and concluded the day with two more measured drawings: one at another pavilion, and a second at the Prospect Park Boathouse.
June 24, by Fionna Banchs Rios: On Saturday we were accompanied by practitioners Mike Watkins, Michael Mesko, and Rodrigo Bollat Montenegro on a field trip to Forest Hills Gardens in Queens. The purpose of the trip was to study the urbanism of the site.
We learned how everything is arranged in a city to make it work and how every little detail has its purpose; factors crucial for creating communities that are easy to live in. For example, we learned about different types of trees that can be found in a city and why they are planted in particular places. We also learned about the importance of the size of streets, and their different functions according to the size. Throughout the first week, this has been my favorite field study.