This past Friday and Saturday Auburn University, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, partnered with the ICAA to host a Workshop in Classical Architectural Design. The workshop, in collaboration with faculty members Scott Finn, Professor and Associate Chair in Architecture and Danielle Willkens, Assistant Professor of Architecture was led by Michael Mesko and Clay Rokicki. Over 70 architecture students and professional participants from across the region attended with students from both the undergraduate Architectural program and Building Construction & Landscape Architecture graduate program. The combination of students and professionals was not only enriching to the classroom dynamic, but during the welcome breakfast held Saturday morning as well, where the two groups were able to mingle and meet some of the workshop instructors.
The workshop introduced the practice of classical architectural design with emphasis on its application in the design of new buildings and places. Presentations on Friday and Saturday provided case studies of recent professional work, introduced the elements of the classical architectural language, and demonstrated ways in which architects utilize the wealth of material found in historical precedents to inform the design of new buildings. Guest speakers, all of whom were Auburn alumni are renowned professionals whose portfolios and curricula were paired with the core curriculum taught by longtime ICAA instructors and TAs.
Students drawing architectural details of Ross Hall
Kellen Krause, who taught “Studying Precedent to Inform Practice and Measured Drawing”, said of the workshop: “The students quickly embraced the language of classicism through several drawing exercises and a field study of a campus building. It was amazing to see each participant, many of whom had hardly drafted by hand before, readily assembling the Tuscan order on paper and laying out an elevation. Their eagerness to learn the fundamentals of the classical tradition demonstrates an exciting promise for the future of architecture.” Rodrigo Bollat Montenegro, Teaching Assistant, added that “It was especially rewarding to witness students having that moment of sudden insight as they tackled the drawing exercises. The Tuscan order, which they had seen in an architectural history lecture or a historic building, now all of a sudden was teaching them about proportion, scale, and geometry.”
Students gathered for a workshop lecture
In addition to Krause’s presentation, Auburn University’s workshop curriculum included guest lectures, “The Nature of Location – Region, Tradition, and Telling Your Client’s Story in the Modern Design Practice” with John Sease and David Baker of McAlpine; “Context and Detail – The Importance of Drawing and Design at All Scales” with James Carter, James F. Carter Architect; and “Making Places – Building Types that Form Community” with Louis Nequette of Nequette Architecture & Design.
Thanks to McAlpine for their invaluable sponsorship of the Workshop—their generosity and involvement was instrumental to the success of the program. And a special thanks to the Southeast Chapter and their coordinator, Lynn Amoroso for their efforts, without which the program could not have run so seamlessly. Additional thanks goes to Danielle Willkens and Scott Finn from Auburn University, whose efforts were essential in making the program a success. Last but not least, thanks to the ICAA’s Teaching Assistants, Samantha White, Bryan Jones, Cameron Bishop and Rodrigo Bollat Montenegro.
The two-day program has traveled to many universities across the country, sometimes recurring annually. Each iteration with each university provides the opportunity for a singular connection to local architects and architecture. To inquire about bringing the ICAA’s Workshop in Classical Architectural Design to your school, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students working on their drawings in a breakout session
On Tuesday, September 19th over 140 guests attended a sold-out lecture with world renowned landscape designer Arne Maynard. Co-hosted by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA) and Architectural Digest, Maynard’s discussion focused on the balance between formal and informal elements in his landscapes and gardens.
A garden designed by Arne Maynard (Photo: William Collinson)
Following introductions by ICAA President Peter Lyden and Architectural Digest Decorative Arts Editor Mitchell Owens, Maynard highlighted a selection of mature projects in the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States. Maynard illustrated how formal garden layouts – defined by elements such as paths, hedges, trees, and topiary – form the bones of the garden that endure throughout the year and juxtapose with seasonal plants that, in their moment of exuberance, are encouraged to inhabit the spaces.
Architectural Digest Editor in Chief Amy Astley with ICAA President Peter Lyden
In advance of the lecture, ICAA President Peter Lyden told Architectural Digest, “Arne is among today’s most influential and renowned landscape designers. To experience one of Arne’s gardens is to witness the perfect synthesis of formal and informal design principles that, together, harmonize the architecture of a place with its natural setting.”
Architectural Digest Decorative Arts Editor Mitchell Owens introducing Arne Maynard
Architectural Digest Editor in Chief Amy Astley was in attendance at the lecture, as well as the magazine’s Interiors & Garden Director Alison Levasseur.
Also present were ICAA Board Members Andrew Cogar, Pierre Crosby, Barbara Eberlein, Mark Ferguson, John Flower, Jared Goss, Kirk Henckels, Michael Mesko, and Mark Pledger. Caleb Anderson, Anne Bass, Frank de Biasi, Kathryn Herman, Edmund Hollander, Chris Kane, Tham Kannalikham, Fernanda Kellogg, Julian Lethbridge, Thomas Lloyd, Charles Miers, Gene Meyer, Karen Pascoe, Katharine Rayner, and Gilbert P. Schafer III, among other ICAA supporters and friends, were also in attendance.
The lecture was generously sponsored by Hollander Design Landscape Architects, Howard and Nancy Marks, and Karen Pascoe. Filming of the discussion, which will be made available online, was sponsored by Kane Brothers Water Features.
All lecture and event photos courtesy of: Sean Zanni / PMC
A view of Pauli Murray College at Yale University from Hillhouse Avenue
Yale University is one of America’s oldest higher education institutions and one of the world’s most renowned, advancing the sciences, arts, humanities, medicine, and so many other fields for over 300 years. Yale also boasts one of the most beautiful campuses, which epitomizes the architectural experience of the American college and undoubtedly contributes to the university’s distinguished position. Recently several participants of the ICAA Young Members Task Force, as well as other young ICAA members and supporters, joined me for a special tour of two residential colleges at Yale that are scheduled to open this Fall semester; the colleges are named for Benjamin Franklin, who received an honorary degree from Yale in 1753, and Pauli Murray, a Yale graduate and groundbreaking civil rights activist, lawyer, educator, and author.
Robert A.M. Stern leads the ICAA’s tour group through Yale’s new residential colleges
Led by distinguished architect Robert A.M. Stern, the tour offered a rare, insightful, and inspiring opportunity for our group to explore the residential colleges in their final phase of construction; as a Yale graduate, the experience was particularly meaningful to me. It is of course fitting that the new colleges were designed by Stern’s eponymously named firm. He served as Dean of the Yale School of Architecture for 18 years, where his impact on architectural education and students has been nothing short of profound. Stern, who is renowned as a lifelong practitioner and educator, was honored with an Arthur Ross Award in the Education category in 2016; he also received an Arthur Ross Award for his work in Architecture in 1991 and a Board of Directors Honor from the ICAA in 2007 (among numerous accolades).
The facade of the new colleges
Yale’s iconic Harkness Tower, designed by architect James Gamble Rogers
The design of the new colleges builds upon a mode of Gothic architecture that harkens to the numerous James Gamble Rogers buildings on campus. The bell tower at Pauli Murray College, for example, reflects Yale’s iconic Harkness Tower, and also serves as an important visual landmark, connecting the new colleges with rest of the campus. This visual synchronicity is, in part, what makes the new colleges so successful and fundamental to the future of the university’s built environment. In addition to allowing Yale to expand its undergraduate enrollment by 15%, the Benjamin Franklin and Pauli Murray Colleges play a crucial role in bridging previously disparate sections of Yale – the main campus and Science Hill.
The bell tower at Pauli Murray College
The richness of the new colleges’ details is perhaps most unforgettable – from the exceptional ironwork in the gates and the exquisitely proportioned buildings, to the study and living spaces. Every detail has been carefully executed with the specific needs of students in mind. Needless to say, to be admitted as a student to the Benjamin Franklin or Pauli Murray College would be a dream come true!
Tour participants inspect the ironwork in the gates at Pauli Murray College
When I was a student at the Yale School of Management, my classes were frequently adjacent to the plot of land where the new colleges have been constructed. While my educational experience at Yale was extraordinary, I recall this area of campus as isolated and remote, without any architectural merit to speak of. I am thrilled to see the space rejuvenated in such a dramatic and positive way by the new colleges, which also share a border with the Farmington Canal that is undergoing revitalization work with the addition of a new walkway and bike paths.
The exterior of the new residential colleges while under construction
The tour was a special opportunity, not only to reminisce, but to watch architectural history unfold in the company of our younger ICAA members on the campus of one of America’s most esteemed universities. While touring the new colleges, I was reminded of one of my favorite Benjamin Franklin quotes: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
Tour participants cross through a courtyard while touring the new residential colleges
I hope that future students will be inspired not only by the words and achievements of both Franklin and Murray, but also that the built environment that surrounds them contributes to their own intellectual curiosity, growth, and accomplishments. I’m confident it will.
Robert A.M. Stern leads the ICAA’s tour group through the new residential colleges
The ICAA’s Summer Studio in Classical Architecture introduces students to skills, knowledge, and resources essential to the practice and appreciation of classical design over the course of four weeks. The program serves as a complement or supplement to undergraduate programs across the United States, exposing many students to the foundations of classicism for the first time.
CUA Students Daniel Glasgow, Chas Winebrenner, Andrew Anderson and Tatiana Amundsen sketch on location in Bryant Park during the Summer Studio
This year, the ICAA hosted four students from the Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington D.C., one of the few universities in the country to offer a burgeoning classical program. We asked the CUA students about their experience in the Summer Studio, how it will help them to fulfill their professional goals, and more:
Students sketch on location at the Prospect Park boathouse
What have you appreciated the most about the Summer Studio in Classical Architecture?
Andrew Anderson: What I have appreciated most about the Summer Studio is how carefully the curriculum was constructed, so as to allow for a greatly well-rounded experience as well as a strong exploration of the specifics. In four weeks, we had the opportunity to explore the classical tradition from the perspectives of countless professionals in building design, urban planning, interior design, and historical literature, learn highly applicable skills such as wash rendering, light and shade drawing, and drafting techniques, explore and draw the classical architecture of New York, and visit multiple firms. Yet we were also able to learn the details, drawing and learning the parts of the orders, exploring proportioning systems at a great depth, and applying this knowledge to our pavilion design project.
Chas Winebrenner: The wealth of knowledge the ICAA brings its students is incredible. Having highly educated and experienced, practicing architects join the studio on a daily basis created an enriched and fulfilling environment for students to learn in.
Daniel Glasgow: I have greatly appreciated the personal interest that the professors, lecturers, and staff took in me and my education. The professors taught with a telos and competency that was both attractive and understandable
Tatiana Amundsen: I highly enjoyed the variety of courses involved in the Summer Studio. I am impressed by the quality of the instructors and the speed at which we were able to move from one subject to another.
Andrew Anderson and Daniel Glasgow work on measured drawings at the New York Public Library
Has the Summer Studio changed your academic or professional goals at all? If so, how?
AA: During the Summer Studio, I was inspired in my professional goals the most by witnessing the dedication of all those who gave of their time, efforts, and resources to help me and my peers have the most valuable studio experience possible. Countless instructors, teaching assistants, coordinators and mentors went out of their way throughout the month to make sure that I personally was learning and growing as much as possible, showing me how supportive professionals in the traditional architecture network are. This has helped me realize the responsibility I have to, in turn, use what I have been given at the summer studio, and in my education at the Catholic University of America, for the benefit of others throughout my own career.
CW: Summer Studio has made me bring more of my attention toward working for a firm focused primarily with residential projects. The ICAA brings its students to many office visits ranging from commercial and residential to interior design, allowing students the opportunity to ask questions and get a feel for what the work is like within that discipline.
DG: Yes certainly! Classicism has been smoldering in the back of my mind for about a year and a half when I first became disappointed with parts modernism. At that time I did not understand what classicism was. I only thought that modernism fell short in some ways and hoped that there was something better. Now I know that classicism is a beautiful language and I look forward to pursuing it.
TA: The Summer Studio has helped me to realize that a career in traditional architecture is achievable and the place to start looking for mentors and networking is within the ICAA. The variety of activities involving student contact with professionals allowed me to begin to understand the type of people who work with traditional architects and to visualize what it would be like to become part of that community.
The Summer Studio group stands in front of the statue of Diana during a field study at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Were there any programs, field studies or field trips that you feel have enriched your education?
AA: Every field experience greatly complemented what I learned while in studio. Classical architecture is designed for the human experience, and drawing on location at a wide range of classical buildings and sites has helped me to understand and experience architecture in a way I couldn’t in the classroom alone. I was specifically inspired when drawing the base of the Municipal Building in Lower Manhattan, as it was inspired by the Arch of Constantine and thus connected with my past experiences in Rome. Field studies at the Municipal Building and the New York Public Library later inspired the way I designed my arches and columns in my Prospect Park pavilion design project.
CW: Our trip to upstate New York enriched my education because of my interest in residential design. Being able to visit two homes and see how classicism can be applied and used within modern means of construction and materials from a first hand perspective was inspiring.
DG: The mentorship program was an impressive program. It was a joy to meet professionals who practice this kind of work, and hear from them about how classicism is done in the contemporary world.
TA: It was nice to visit so many firms! It was nice to see the differences in the character of each firm. I also highly enjoyed being able to learn from so many instructors especially given the quality of each. My interest was never slowed.
Students explore the grounds of Peter Pennoyer’s and Katie Ridder’s classically designed house
Is there anything you’ve learned that you’d like to further develop or investigate in the coming school year?
AA: When returning to work at a small firm the Monday after the Summer Studio, I immediately realized that through my training in the classical tradition I now had a specific type of architectural knowledge and experience that even a majority of professionals do not have. I am excited to explore and investigate how I can now use my specific experiences to contribute to a team in order to increase the quality of design projects, even when they are not specifically traditional.
CW: I learned many valuable skills in the design and representation of a project or idea. The most important skill I learned was during an esquisse exercise, allowing us to explore three distinct ideas and narrow it down to one within a predetermined time frame. I plan to also further develop my technique in wash rendering as well as hand drafting. The introduction of hand drafting and sketching enhanced my creative process without causing limitations that a computer drawing initially faces.
DG: I look forward to investigating the literature of classical architecture. I am grateful to the ICAA for providing me with a few excellent texts, and I am excited to take advantage of these resources.
TA: I took my first wash rendering course and I was surprised both that I liked it and that I was good at it! I will continue to work on wash rendering and watercolor as well.
Instructor David Genther’s introductory wash rendering session
What was it like having a mentor advising and working with you throughout the course of the program?
AA: The mentor program has been an extremely positive feature of my Summer Studio experience. While I have learned a great amount from having instructors with a wide range of experiences and knowledge, having a mentor has truly helped to personalize my learning even more throughout the program. My mentor has given me advice and encouragement from his personal experiences in architecture, has shown genuine attention and care for my own passions and interests, and has helped me form connections. I look forward to maintaining contact with my mentor long after the Summer Studio.
CW: Being assigned a mentor was an invaluable connection to the ICAA Summer Studio and the practicing world of architecture. Learning about some of her experiences as an entry level architect through to her current position, helped me envision my transition from school to working as an architect.
The Summer Studio students in front of their final projects
You can learn more about the 2017 Summer Studio from CUA student Daniel Glasgow:
This past May, I had the pleasure of joining members of the ICAA for The Rich Art & Architectural Heritage of Andalusia, Spain, an 8-day excursion to southern Spain highlighting its many architectural marvels. Along with the other program participants, I was fortunate to experience the rich artistic, architectural, and cultural heritage of five Spanish cities: Málaga, Granada, Córdoba, Seville, and Cádiz.
The bell tower at La Mezquita de Córdoba, Spain, which was previously a minaret
While it is difficult to choose one particular highlight that stands out among the many beautiful buildings and spaces that our group encountered, one of the sites that most embodies the architectural style of the region is La Mezquita de Córdoba.
The famous horseshoe arches of La Mezquita
With a storied past that involved multiple transitions in ownership between Muslims and Christians since construction began in the 8th Century BCE, La Mezquita is a stunning example of Moorish architecture. Walking among the famous horseshoe arches and the tranquil hypostyle hall, which contains columns hewn from a variety of materials from disassembled Roman buildings in the area, visitors cannot help but be overtaken by a feeling of reverence as they seem to be transported back in time. La Mezquita stands as a breathtaking reminder of the blending of many cultures that took place in Andalusia over centuries of cross-cultural pollination, resulting in the unique flavor of the region today.
A doorway located in the outer walls of La Mezquita