When it comes to great architecture, the best ideas are only as good as the execution of their design through building and construction. This emphasis on teaching what is known as “design/build theory” to architecture students, will be the focus of an all day symposium, hosted by the College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT).
“Thinking & Doing: The Role of Design/Build Studios in Architectural Education,” will be held at IIT’s McCormick Tribune Campus Center, designed by Pritzker-prize winning architect Rem Koolhaas, 3201 South State St., on Saturday, Feb. 21, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
Organized by IIT Architecture Professor Frank Flury, trained as a carpenter, architect, and professor of design, the symposium focuses on how design/build studios enrich an architectural education and can provide invaluable service to urban and rural communities. The symposium will include lectures and discussions led by such nationally acclaimed leaders as Brian MacKay-Lyons, Dan Rockhill, Steven Badanes and Andrew Freear.
“Design/build studios help architecture students make the connection between the idea stage of the process and the final built form, which enables them to understand the impact of one discipline on the other and results in a higher quality product,” said Flury. “It is powerful for a student to gain a sensual understanding of building by cutting and crafting a piece of wood or feeling the heat, weight and odor involved in welding steel, and the astonishment of opening concrete formwork.”
There have been design/build studios taught in which architecture students learn to lay bricks, and masonry students learn to draw to scale, so each group comes to understand materials, processes, and problems. Flury adds that this critical communication between designers and builders improves as furthers respect for individual skill sets needed in the creation of a building.
Smoothing the way to lay brick or make a door fit are not the only aims of design/build studios. Recent history shows that these studios often focus on community projects, such a public housing, youth centers, or churches—non-profit organizations that have mutually benefited as partners in educational experiences that meld theory with practice.