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The Work of Summer Option 2015

The Summer Design Program in Architecture is an intensive ten-week program that provides an introduction to research and design process skills and to the graphic communication of form and ideas. At the conclusion of this series of classes, the student should be able to identify the key issues of a simple architectural design problem, research these issues, visualize alternative solutions using a variety of two and three dimensional media and modeling techniques, develop the potential solutions and clearly articulate why the solution is appropriate, sustainable and beautiful.

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The students participating in this program work with several different faculty throughout the summer in different classes that all attend to the stated goals and objectives of the course sequence as described above. During the summer of 2015, Assistant Professor Margaret Fletcher, the Coordinator of the First Year Program in Architecture, and Danielle Willkens, Visiting Assistant Professor, taught students in the first design studio course. This course was a four-week sequence that developed the students’ ability to visualize in three-dimensions, think spatially and develop their representational design language for architectural ideas. After the first four weeks, the students moved into a two-week session with Assistant Professor Margaret Fletcher that focused solely on the communication of architectural ideas through the analog and digital course sequences of Visual Communication.

For the second portion of the Summer Design Program, Assistant Professor Matt Hall and Professor from the University of Tennessee College of Architecture and Design, Hansjörg Göritz,ran a four-week program focusing on the fundamentals of architecture with a focus on context, clarity and craft. The studio introduces the first project in real context on the site of architect Paul Rudolph’s Kappa Sigma Fraternity House at Auburn University. Working in close proximity with the existing building, the students were tasked with conceptualizing a comprehensive design for the grounds, addressing the existing approach, landscape and architectural language with a new sequence and ensemble of spaces. The program consisted of two major components: a building serving as exhibition space and an exterior room as its extension and mediator between the architecture and the existing fraternity house.

Building on the objectives of the projects taught in the first six weeks of the summer, students studied the relationship of space to ground plane and the myriad of possible transitions between interior conditions and from inside to out. The process involved intense study at various scales. Starting with the conceptual and diagrammatic, students designed in miniature, working up from the scale of a 3”x5” card to a full model of the site at 24”x36”. At each step, new design criteria were introduced taking the initial gestural sketch and developing it in relation to structure, enclosure and material consequence. In addition to learning the fundamentals of design, students consistently worked on both drawing and modeling techniques. These exercises introduced the representational language of line weights and types to describe form and space in two-dimensions and were an introduction to reading and modeling complex topographic surfaces of the site in both drawing and model form. The exhibit of the work entitled “No Excuses Taken: Adding to Icon” during the Fall of 2015 showcased the projects on the first floor of Dudley Hall with the premise that from this moment forward, the students are prepared to operate contextually, clearly and precisely as they move on to face the challenges of the second year of the Architecture Program.