October 24, 2018 Interdisciplinary Trips to Chicago, Nashville Expose Students to Practical Design

We are an interdisciplinary college.  That means students in all disciplines collaborate and learn together throughout their time here.  One way we do that is to take students out of the classrooms to see design in the built environment.

Every year, first-year and second-year Architecture and Interior Architecture students travel together to see practical applications of what they’re learning in the classroom, to appreciate iconic structures and to experience the evolution of architecture in two unique cities.

This fall, they traveled to Nashville and Chicago.

In September, 105 second-year students in Architecture and Interior Architecture headed to Chicago.  Their first stop was Cincinnati, where they saw buildings by top designers including Bernard Tschumi, Michael Graves, Peter Eisenman, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid and the firm Morphosis.

In Chicago, the group toured Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home and Studio in Oak Park and visited the Art Institute. They stood at the top of the Hancock Tower and made a stop at Mies van der Rohe’s Lake Shore Apartments.  They also privately toured the Steelcase offices located in the Furniture Mart and visited Illinois Institute of Technology and Crown Hall.

This year’s trip was led by Architecture’s Brian Ambroziak, Scott Wall and Micah Rutenberg and Interior Architecture’s Alyssa Kuhns.

“This is the first overnight trip in a curriculum that places great importance on the role of travel in the development of a student’s ‘artistic conscience’,” Ambroziak said. “It is a wonderful occasion for faculty and students to interact outside the classroom and better appreciate the fact that our profession is a twenty-four-hour gig.”

In early October, first-year students in Architecture and Interior Architecture spent the day learning from their surroundings in Nashville. The trip consisted of a walking tour of the city that showcased different urban spaces and civic buildings, team work on a visual essay and a visit to the Nashville Civic Design Center.

“Traveling and documenting spaces together is a great way to build more of a collective studio culture and collaborative spatial sensibility,” said Adjunct Assistant Professor of Architecture Karl Heckman.

The group also visited local architecture firms including EOA Architects, Tuck Hinton Architects, Smith Gee Studio, Earl Swensson Associates and Gresham Smith, to learn what careers in design offer.

“The most valuable part of the Nashville trip was visiting the architectural firms and learning how UT is setting us up for success,” Nicholas Van Son, first-year Architecture student, said. “Having the opportunity to talk to alumni was extremely valuable.”

“By focusing on finding certain architectural and design-based sites, spaces and places, I gained a whole new perspective on the way I view Nashville,” said Nadine Ghezawi, first-year Architecture student.  “I am now able to integrate what I’ve learned in class into real life situations and experiences by finding solutions and alternative architectural approaches and appreciating design as a whole.”

The trip was led by Prof. Marleen Davis, Architecture and assisted by Architecture’s James Rose, Karl Heckman and David Fox; Interior Architecture’s Liz Teston, as well as Lee Waldrep from the Center for Student Development.

Both trips allow students early in their design careers the opportunity to explore iconic cities filled with practical applications of design work they aspire to do in the future, to network with their peers, faculty and professionals and to build a community that encourages and celebrates collaboration.