For Architecture students, course changes spur extracurricular development

800px-Yale_Art_and_Architecture_Building_October_20_2008
Photo by Creative Commons.

Despite a heavy midterm workload, undergraduates in the architecture major organized a taste of the department’s offerings for freshmen and sophomores considering the field.

Ink & Vellum, Yale’s undergraduate architecture society, held a semiformal pin-up of undergraduate work on Monday at the School of Architecture, drawing not only prospective applicants to the major but also current architecture students and faculty members. While students have traditionally organized a display of their summer work, this year’s pin-up included designs from the academic year in order to give younger students an understanding of the major.

Kevin Adkisson ’12, who curated the event, explained that a recent change in the order in which students take required courses served as an inspiration for the show’s layout. Organized chronologically around the center of the seventh floor of the architecture building, the show demonstrated the new progression for program of study.

“When I began [the program], the new courses were in their first year, so we didn’t have anyone to look at,” Adkisson said. “Now that the reformed [curriculum] has been in place for two years, we’re excited to show it off.”

The pin-up, which displayed pencil sketches from an introductory class as well as designs from more advanced studio classes, also invoked sentimental feelings from older architecture students present at the exhibit, Dan Whitcombe ’12 said. Whitcombe, the president of Ink & Vellum, explained that Monday’s event was the first opportunity for students in his year to see the development of their accomplishments.

This sense of growth was also inspiring for the underclassmen present, Adkisson said.

“[When I came into the major] I was very unaware of what exactly I was getting into,” Marisa Mobley ’12 said. “But [at this event] there were a lot of sophomores from [one of the prerequisite classes] who were able to get a sense of what we do.”

In addition to using the show as a recruitment tool, Whitcombe said he hoped to draw attention to the major by getting prospective applicants into the building. As a freshman, Whitcombe said he had taken a tour of the newly opened architecture building and was instantly impressed by the resources available to undergraduate architecture students.

This event is one of several initiatives by architecture students to define the major in the wake of its restructuring, Matthew Claudel ’13 said. Ink & Vellum has greatly increased its presence this year, Claudel said, hoping to give undergraduates the voice and a platform to display their work — which they have lacked in the past.

To fill this void, Claudel said he is creating the first undergraduate architecture publication on campus. The publication, called FORMAS, will be loosely based on the model of the graduate student publication Retrospecta, which features the year’s best work from the School of Architecture and is designed by students at the School of Art.

Claudel said the publication will include work from students in the design track in addition to excerpts from essays written for theory and history classes.

FORMAS, which Claudel is currently designing with art major Rachel Needle ’13, will solicit submissions at the end of the semester and develop its first issue by reading week of second semester.

Needle is a former production & design editor for the News.

Applications for the undergraduate architecture major will be due for sophomores at the end of the academic year.

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