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'‘Architecture Boot Camp'’ in New York City

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hampshire students can do hands-on work in architecture and design through a program set up in fall 2006 with the New York Institute of Architecture and Urban Studies (NYIAUS).

"The Institute is like architecture boot camp," says Karen Koehler, associate professor of architectural history and co-coordinator of the Five College Architectural Studies Program.

NYIAUS offers a studio immersion experience—a chance to learn advanced techniques in architecture while working on research, design, and implementation of a project. You can take a studio course anywhere, says Schuyler Cadwalader 01F, who participated in the program last year as a Hampshire alumnus and will enter the University of Pennsylvania's architectural program this fall. What sets the Institute apart is that it "skips the intro stuff and puts you right into the work," he says.

Thom Long, assistant professor of architectural studies and co-coordinator of the Five College Architectural Studies Program, serves as advisor to the NYIAUS program. "Students work both creatively and technically to solve complex architectural problems, and create incredibly progressive and unique design projects over the course of one semester," Long says.

A semester at the Institute is broken up into four periods. "Different skills in research, theory, diagramming, drawing and design are taught and honed in this phasing process," says Long. Students work in the studio all day, five days a week, and receive regular feedback.

"Everyone enters with preconceived ideas of what you can do," says Cadwalader, who now works at NYIAUS as a teaching assistant. "The Institute pushes you to do more."

"You're living in this incredible city with great architecture," says Sophat Sam 04F, one of the first Hampshire students to attend the Institute. It is housed in the firm Kevin Kennon Architects in Manhattan, with Kevin Kennon serving as Institute director.

Sam, who is now a teaching assistant at Smith College, asks his students the same kind of hard questions that were posed to him while in New York. "The type of thinking I learned has carried over into my mentality now," he says.

One of the best things about this program is that it is not just for architecture concentrators, adds Koehler: "Even if you're a literature student interested in novels about cities, you can go to this program as a way to gain first-hand engagement" with the urban landscape.

"In the end, students are better prepared to execute an independent senior project or Div III and have design and communication skills that seem to be a notch above the rest," says Long.

"It is a place where you can sink your teeth in from day one, and come away with cutting-edge work," says Cadwalader.

For more information about Hampshire's program with NYIAUS

Five College Architectural Studies


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