Saturday, May 12, 2012

Parting Thoughts

By Matt Owens Being the last blog article I will be writing I was thinking about leaving the readers with my thoughts and feelings about the master of architecture program here at SIU. This last article was going to be a summation of my experiences with the conclusion of some profound knowledge of which I gained that will undoubtedly shape the rest of my career in architecture. But for some reason I am just not feeling that as I am typing right now. Its not that I don’t think that the time I spent here at SIU was not important or that I didn’t learn anything. I can tell you it was a useful experience of which I can say will be greatly beneficial to the architecture career I intend to pursue. But right now I just feel like that would be too long of an article to justify my experience here over the past year, and quite frankly I don’t think many people will care. And continuing to speak frankly I don’t think many people will even read it? So instead my final article will be a critic on the blogging experience. In a sense I am leaving the same way I came into the blog for the school of architecture. If you recall, (I’m sure you won’t) my first article stated my feelings about the importance a blog can have for architects, and explained my experience with blogging to that point. I also expressed some excitement that I was going to get a chance to share ideas with fellow grads and we were all going to be better students for it! So for the first several months of assigned blogs I would carefully select a topic of which to discuss. I would search for something that I felt would be the most interesting and beneficial to the rest of my class mates and the reader. But I found out that not many (none) of my classmates were reading the other students blogs. Everyone was treating the blog as another assignment and was doing it just to fill the requirement. Which was somewhat understandable, we as arch students have so much going on that it was difficult to find time to write a blog. I then found myself not caring about the content of my blogs. I can honestly say I have not even visited the blog this semester. So what can I say I gained from the blogging experience? I hate to say nothing, some of the early blogs I wrote involved some research and time, so I can say I gained knowledge about some of those topics. Admittedly I didn’t read many other students blog after the first couple weeks, maybe I just noticed a lack of interest, or it was the fact that we were so busy. I would like to know how many people actually do read this blog? I can only speak on the standpoint of a student writing the article. I still think the blog could be a good idea; I like the thought of students sharing ideas with each other, and potentially having an audience from outside the school. It could be a good look into the culture of the school. I think the delivery of these ideas might benefit from change in format. While we live in the age of the internet and blogs, I think the best way to get something like this out is a good old' fashion newsletter! Once or maybe even twice a semester the school could put out a small publication of sorts. This publication would contain the article and images written by the students, it could also display student projects. Even though the blog is easily accessible I feel the hard copy of a newsletter is easier and students are more likely to pick it up. I realize there is a cost associated with a hard copy, and if you want it to look good it will cost more. But I think a hard copy publication will reach more people and be more effective in displaying the work and ideas of the students in the architecture program at SIUC.

Last Illies Blog

By Erik Illies Alright. So how about that last year huh? Haha, what a way to start a blog… but why not right? Gotta take up space with something! Speaking of something, I was recently turned on to a great thinker named Jacque Fresco by my friend Ryan (you know who you are) and have been thinking quite a bit about the types of projects he works on. He isn’t really an architect or engineer per-se, nor is he a sociologist; instead he is a master at playing pretend. That’s what this deep thought by Jack Handy is all about this time. Playing Pretend! Mr. Fresco’s work is an all encompassing view of what the world could be (in his eyes) if every facet of the human existence was approached using the scientific method and current/ could be technologies. His designs include buildings, personal vehicles, modular homes/ apartments, freight/ person trams, planes, ships, ocean cities, metropolises, etc... The breadth of his work is a reflection of the ways he approaches a lifestyle problem that is answered by a design solution. It’s worthwhile to stop here and repeat, that the focus of his work (and I will argue that all true design professions objective should be) to identify lifestyle problems as they relate to humanity and solve them with design! He doesn’t simply stop at the product design though. Jacque Fresco continues his thoughts and designs through use and after life to some extent. This becomes more of a social attendance by the design than the initial use of the design. Really, any facet of responsiveness by the designs is equally important, just not all as often considered. This again is the intent of the blog post. I do not as much want to talk up Mr. Fresco, rather I want to talk about why I was inspired by him. As a student we produce designs to respond to a studio assignment. We have little more than a rough idea of what the implications of the design execution are, and our own free will on what design style to use. Here, I feel, is the beautiful crux moment where we as designers must choose how to proceed with design. Wow, so deep… what an original concept! I know, it’s cheesy and a little contrived and in all honesty a “duh” concept; but it’s worth recognizing each time we start a project to keep our work in perspective. In whatever way we perceive ourselves as architects, or interior designers, or fashion designers, or engineers, or politicians, or captains of industry, or whatever our profession ends up being, we should remain cognizant of the responsibility humanity has bestowed unto us. That is to always keep the human spirit in mind when we design. Our solution has to be our best attempt to make the world a better place in some way by virtue of our buildings being built, or products being sold. I think Mr. Fresco accomplishes this whole heartedly, and to quote Rush, ”the Blacksmith and the Artist each must do their part to mould a new reality, Closer to the Heart!” If you are further interested in the designs of Jacque Fresco please look up his biopic movie “Future by Design”, or visit his ecological project website! It took a close friend and a supporter of mine to help remind me that this is what’s important about what we do and why we should still be excited to be designers!!! Spread Good Vibes!!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Last Grad Blog

By Zachary Collins Well SIUC, you have been my home for the past 4 years and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I have had an amazing college experience here and I’ve received a great education. I’m happy I chose this as my alumni school and I hope the architecture program progresses as the years go on. To everyone else, this is my last blog entry for my graduate career. It’s been one crazy, fun, hectic ride, but we are almost done with Grad school. Summer thesis left, and we are DONE! I’m guessing most of us are counting the days to be someone who holds a Masters degree in their hands. It will be an amazing feeling of accomplishment. Here is what will be going on in my near future. As for my thesis, my main focus now is implementing every single thing possible into this building that relates to the Joshua Tree via the concept of biomimicry. This includes passive and active systems, the aesthetics of the building, and all site design. It’s going to be a long hard process, but I’m confident I will pull through with an amazing project. After graduating I am moving to Orlando, Florida where I have a job lined up working for Maverick Architectural Designs. They are a hospitality focused firm, which is exactly what my passion in architecture is for. I am excited for starting my new life in Florida and cannot wait for what the future holds for me. On a final note, I just want to wish all my fellow graduates the best of luck this summer on their thesis and for their futures. I hope this won’t be the last time I see them. I leave you with this final message: “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” - Seneca, Roman Philosopher. Make your new beginning worth ending the last one!


By Audrey Treece
Advocacy is one of the many benefits that you would gain as an American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) member. This year the taskforce has been charged with Student Loan Forgiveness initiatives. AIAS has spent numerous hours collecting data and input so they can make the best attempt at advocating for all architecture students regardless of membership. As I said, this year the charge has been about Student Loan Forgiveness. The AIAS is not asking for complete negligence of loans; however, they are advocating for equal treatment of those that are doctors, lawyers and teachers. Many people do not understand the amount of hidden costs that architectural students have throughout their academic career. The AIAS partnered with the American Institute of Architects are trying to make our situation known and fight for student loan forgiveness in exchange for pro bono work like other professions. This would be an opportunity for architectural graduates to showcase their talents and need for the profession by assisting underserved communities while also cutting down student loan costs. Read below for the most recent update on the situation and the take a look at the AIAS Financial Survey Results. To follow the progress and outcome, be sure to check in often to For immediate release: Washington, D.C., April 25, 2012 - This past weekend, the Board of Directors of The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) held their spring meeting. Most importantly on the agenda was the discussion of a recent survey of students of architecture and the needs of current and future graduates in preparing to enter the profession. “The current trends in the pursuit of Architecture as a career, and the realities of the current economy and the anticipated progression of the recovery, demanded that the AIAS look at our members’ perception and expectations for the future,” said Nick Mancusi, Assoc. AIA, the President of the AIAS. “In order to remain relevant, our organization and the profession as a whole needs to be aware of the next generation’s concerns and offer information and resources to support those capable and willing citizens as they graduate and engage with their community.” The survey results confirm and supplement many other recently published and private reports from various sources. Specifically targeted at students in architectural programs, the primary findings of the report indicate a number of challenges to the next generation of the profession, but these are challenges that can be addressed through discussion and collective effort. The survey indicates that the primary concerns of architecture students are focused on the job market and the debt load that students are taking on to pursue this career choice. The research results indicate that architecture students have a higher than average amount of student debt: Anticipating an average amount of $40,000 in debt upon graduation from their program. This amount ranges dramatically based both on the institution and the degree program being completed. Students also face a large amount of “Hidden Costs” that are not part of the listed tuition and fees of a program. Specifically, Students spend $1,000+ annually on materials for models and project submissions. Additionally textbooks, required and “optional” amount to another $800 per year, and technology spending accounts for an additional $1,500 per year. Thus over the course of a 4 year Bachelor’s program, most students will spend an additional $13,200 in related school costs, with a 6 year Master’s course of study leading to $19,800 in these types of expenses. Interestingly half of our respondents expect to be able to find a job within 3 months of graduation and 77% anticipate being employed within a year. This expression of confidence in the recovery is offset by the salary expectations these graduating students have. In terms of starting salary 62% of the surveyed students anticipate having a salary below $40,000 (which is less than the amount of educational debt they expect to take on.) The majority of the additional respondents were unsure of their salary numbers. Finally, specifically related to pursuing architecture, 84% of our participants are currently pursuing their degree with the express intention of becoming an architect and nearly a third (31%) have already begun their NCARB record to list IDP hours. However, more than half (54%) indicated that if they are not in an architecturally related career within 2 years of graduation they do not anticipate seeking a license and will not pursue the profession further.