National Curriculum Conference 2014

Over the weekend of July 17-20, thirty-three participants representing ten ICAA Chapters and five affiliated schools gathered at the College of Architecture & Planning at the University of Colorado Denver for the third National Curriculum Conference. The College of Architecture & Planning at UCD and the ICAA Rocky Mountain Chapter co-hosted this year’s conference.

2014 National Curriculum Conference. Photo credit: Tom Matthews

The National Curriculum Conference serves as a forum to facilitate dialogue and to share knowledge among ICAA instructors, chapter leaders, and educators at schools and partnering institutions.  The conference is vital to the development of ICAA education on a national scale.

A reception at the historic Hudson Moore Estate, hosted by Don Ruggles, President of the ICAA Rocky Mountain Chapter, commenced conference activities.  Guests were invited to tour the circa 1931 residence, designed by local architects Fisher & Fisher, and recently remodeled and restored by D. H. Ruggles & Associates, P.C.

Mark Ferguson, Chair, ICAA Board of Directors gives opening remarks.

Welcoming remarks from Dean Mark Gelernter, College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Colorado Denver, and Don Ruggles, President of ICAA Rocky Mountain Chapter

The work of the conference began Friday morning with presentations outlining the work of  ICAA Education and programs in classical design in the following ICAA Chapters and schools:

ICAA Chapters:
Chicago-Midwest Chapter; Charleston Chapter; Washington Mid Atlantic Chapter; Florida Chapter; Utah Chapter; New England Chapter; Rocky Mountain Chapter; Southern California Chapter; Southeast Chapter

Affiliated Schools:
University of Notre Dame; American College of the Building Arts; Boston Architectural College; Judson University; University of Colorado Denver

Elizabeth McNicholas presents on educational programming in the Chicago-Midwest Chapter.


Patrick Webb speaks about the curriculum at the American College of Building Arts in Charleston, S.C.

Christine Franck presents on the proposed initiative Center for Advanced Research in Traditional Architecture.

Christopher Miller from Judson University speaks about classical design education at the university level.

Friday afternoon’s schedule featured presentations on progress in development of coursework in two newly added core subject areas: Composition & Design and Materials & Methods.  ICAA instructors and professors from affiliated schools presented on essential topics, skills, and resources and how these subject areas may be introduced in education programs.

The second day of the conference focused on refinement and development of ICAAs courses in core curriculum areas of Elements, Proportion, Drawing/Delineation, and Literature of Classical Architecture; and on best practices for teaching core content.

Cameron Kruger, Domiane Forte, and Sheldon Kostelecky discuss teaching methods for Drawing & Delineation.

Presentations and discussion at the 2014 NCC.

Joel Pidel and Marvin Clawson make a virtual appearance for their presentation on the Literature & Theory of Classical Architecture. Photo Credit: Tom Matthews

Closing discussions were framed around ways to: capitalize on strengths of the core curriculum; advance coursework in areas needing further development; and on ways to expand our network of instructors.  Conference action items will serve as the basis for continued work in the coming year.

As part of the conference, ICAA Rocky Mountain Education Chair, Tom Matthews, treated participants to a walking tour highlighting classical buildings in Downtown Denver.  The tour featured special access to Denver’s landmark Campanile inspired, Daniels & Fisher Tower, where the owner of Clocktower Events, welcomed participants to visit the observation balcony and clock level to enjoy panoramic views of the city.

Participants on a Walking Tour of Downtown Denver

Cameron Kruger takes participants on a tour of the College of Architecture & Planning building. Photo credit: Tom Matthews

The clock at the top of Daniels & Fisher Tower in downtown Denver.

ICAA National staff shared a letter from Alvin Holm, long-time classical design educator and friend of the ICAA, who was unable to attend the conference.  He had this to say about the significance of the NCC:

“I am personally thrilled to see how far the movement has come from the humble beginnings under Henry Reed’s sponsorship with Classical America in the ‘sixties. I like to think that my early work at the National Academy in New York is in part a little murmur of what has now become something of a mighty chorus across the country.

Henry would be thrilled! His remarks, however, would be characteristically understated, perhaps something like “rather good, actually”. When we celebrate his legacy in Philadelphia this Fall in a small gathering at the Franklin Inn, I will certainly point to this conference as an example of the giant steps we are making toward The New American Renaissance of which he dreamed and did so much to achieve.”

Group shot on the steps of the Byron White U.S. Courthouse.

We thank the 2014 NCC participants for their time, expertise and commitment to classical design education, and look forward to continuing the work of the conference in the coming year.

Our deepest thanks are due to all who made this year’s conference possible, including: the ICAA National Curriculum Committee, the Rocky Mountain Chapter planning team of Christine Franck, Cameron Kruger, and Tom Matthews, Don Ruggles, and Dean Mark Gelernter and the College of Architecture & Planning at UCD for hosting the conference and providing ICAA with use of UCO facilities.  Our very special thanks to Bill Harrison and Harrison Design Associates for sponsorship of  the 2014 National Curriculum Conference.


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