THE SPIRIT OF CAMPUS DESIGN: A reflection on the words of Werner Sensbach #Campus #Planning #Design #University #Architect

Montclair State University
Photo Credit: Mike Peters

In 1991, Werner Sensbach, who served for over 25 years as Director of Facilities Planning and Administration at the University of Virginia, wrote a paper titled “Restoring the Values of Campus Architecture”. The paragraphs that follow were excerpted from that article. They seem particularly appropriate to Montclair State University as it looks at its present campus facilities and forward to the planning of future facilities on a piece of land of spectacular beauty.

Nearly two thousand years ago, the Roman architect Vitruvius wrote that architecture should provide firmness, commodity, and delight. It is the definition of “delight” that still troubles us today. This is especially so on college campuses. Many who try to give voice to what it is that brings delight in a building or an arrangement of buildings may mention the design, the placement on the site, the choice of building materials, the ornamentation, or the landscaping. But mostly it’s just a feeling, or a sense that things are arranged just right, or a sensation of pleasure that comes over us. So academics, like nearly everyone else, often are unsure when planning for new campus construction about what is likely to be delightful. Even though the United States has 3,400 colleges, while most other advanced nations only have a few dozen, we simply have not developed in the United States a sensibility, a vocabulary, a body of principles, an aesthetic for campus architecture.

That each campus should be an “academic village” was one of Thomas Jefferson’s finest architectural insights. Higher learning is an intensely personal enterprise, with young scholars working closely with other scholars, and students sharing and arguing about ideas, religious beliefs, unusual facts, and feelings. A human scale is imperative, a scale that enhances collegiality, friendships, collaborations on research.

I believe the style of the campus buildings is important, but style is not as important as the village-like atmosphere of all the buildings and their contained spaces. University leaders must insist that architects they hire design on a warm, human scale. Scale, not style, is the essential element in good campus design. Of course, if an inviting, charming campus enclosure can be combined with excellent, stylish buildings so much the better.

The third imperative for campus planners, the special aesthetic of campus architecture, or the element of delight, is the hardest to define. It is the residue that is left after you have walked through a college campus, a sense that you have been in a special place and some of its enchantment has rubbed off on you. It is what visitors feel as they enjoy the treasures along the Washington Mall, or others feel after leaving Carnegie Hall, Longwood Gardens in southeastern Pennsylvania, Chartres Cathedral, the Piazza San Marco in Venice, or the Grand Canyon.

On a college campus the delight is generated by private garden spaces in which to converse, by chapel bells at noon or on each hour, by gleaming white columns and grand stairways, by hushed library interiors, by shiny gymnasiums and emerald playing fields, by poster-filled dormitory suites, by a harmony of windows and roofs, and by flowering trees and diagonal paths across a huge lawn. The poet Schiller once said that a really good poem is like a soft click of a well-made box when it is being closed. A great campus infuses with that kind of satisfaction.

In my view, American’s colleges and universities—and especially their physical planners—need three things to become better architectural patrons. One is a renewed sense of the special purpose of campus architecture. A second is an unswerving devotion to human scale. The third is a sense of the uncommon and particular aesthetic—the delight—that a college or university campus demands.

A surprisingly large sector of the American public has conceded a special purpose to higher education. College campuses have provided a special place for those engaged in the earnest pursuit of basic or useful knowledge, for young people devoted to self-improvement, and for making the country smarter, wiser, more artful, and more able to deal with competitor nations.

Therefore, college and university campuses have a distinct and separate purpose, as distinct as the town hall and as separate as a dairy farm. For most students the four to seven years spent in academic pursuits on a university campus are not only an important period of maturing from adolescence to adulthood but also years of heightened sensory and creative ability, years when the powers of reasoning, feeling, ethical delineations, and aesthetic appreciation reach a degree of sharpness as never before. During college years, young minds absorb impressions that often last for a lifetime: unforgettable lectures, noisy athletic contests, quiet hours in a laboratory or library, jovial dormitory banter, black-robed commencements, encounters with persons of radically different views, the rustle of leaves, transfigured nights. The American college campus serves superbly as an example of Aristotle’s idea of a good urban community as a place “where people live a common life for a noble end.”

Montclair State University
Photo Credit: Mike Peters

No architect should be permitted to build for academe unless he or she fully appreciates that his or her building is an educational tool of sorts. New buildings should add to the academic ambiance and enrich the intellectual exchanges and solitary inquiries. They should never be a mere personal statement by the architect or a clever display of technical ingenuity or artistic fashion.

Campus facilities planners need to be sure that the architects they choose are able to incorporate surprise, touches of whimsy, elegance, rapture, and wonder into their constructions. This special campus aesthetic is definitely not a frill. It is what graduates remember decades after they have left the college, and what often prompts them to contribute money to perpetuate the delight. It is what captures high school juniors and their parents in their summer pilgrimages to numerous college campuses to select those two or three institutions to which they will apply.

I think the best way to preserve the particular values of the American college campus is through a three-pronged effort:

The first is to recognize that the village-like university campus is a unique American architectural creation. No other nation has adopted the “academic village” as an architectural and landscaping form, though the ancient Oxbridge colleges came close. Academic leaders should become more knowledgeable about the distinctiveness of their campus communities and more proud of and assertive about maintaining the values of this inventive form.

Second, universities should have a broadly representative and expert blue-ribbon committee to watch over all new construction, not leave it to the vice president for administration, a facilities planner, or a trustee committee. The campus environment should be guarded and enhanced as carefully as the quality of the faculty.

Third, each college and university should draw up a set of design guidelines to help it become a patron who can list what is essential in its campus architecture. These guidelines will differ from campus to campus, but nearly all institutions should include concern for the three fundamentals: academic purpose, human scale, and a special campus aesthetic. Architects can de- sign more effectively and sympathetically if they understand the expectations of the college.

Although these words were written in 1991, they remain true today as Montclair State University continues to grow its enrollment, academic programs, research programs…and the facilities that serve them.

Source: “Restoring the Values of Campus Architecture” by Werner Sensbach (who served for over 25 years as Director of Facilities Planning and Administration at the University of Virginia)

For a list of my projects: Click Here

We would love to hear from you about what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,

FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


12 Rules For Architects Using Aspire Project Management Techniques #ilmaBlog #PM #Management #Business #Architecture

  1. Customer Satisfaction: Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable design solutions.Embrace Changes: Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  2. Embrace the Process: Deliver working design solutions frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  3. Embrace Teamwork: The design team must work together daily throughout the project.
  4. Support Enthusiasm: Design projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need and trust them to get the job done.
  5. Face-to-Face is First: The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a design team is face-to-face conversation.
  6. How Do We Measure Progress: Effective, efficient and elegant design solutions are the primary measure of progress.
  7. Less Is More: Simplicity — the art of maximizing leaving stuff out — is essential. Agile processes promote sustainable development.
  8. Allow for Flexibility: The best design solutions emerge from self-organizing design teams.
  9. Execute, Monitor, Adjust: At regular intervals, the design team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
  10. God Is In The Details: Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.

We would love to hear from you about what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends.

Feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,

FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


12 Fun Facts About the US Capital

Ever wonder….

  1. Is there any symbolic significance to the numbers of columns and steps in various locations in the Capitol?
  2. How many women are represented in the National Statuary Hall Collection?
  3. How many statues are there in the National Statuary Hall Collection?
  4. Where and what is the Capitol Rotunda?
  5. Why does the Statue of Freedom face east, away from the Mall?
  6. What is the name of the statue on top of the dome?
  7. How much did it cost to build the Capitol?
  8. What are the dimensions of the Capitol Building?
  9. What material is the U.S. Capitol made of?
  10. When did the Congress first meet in the Capitol Building?
  11. When was the U.S. Capitol built? And Who designed the U.S. Capitol?
  12. What is the function of the U.S. Capitol?

Check out the answers by visiting: Architect of the Capital

We would love to hear from you about what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,

FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


History of Architecture

Jacqueline Gargus is a professor of architecture at the Knowlton School. Educated at Wellesley College and the University of Pennsylvania, she joined the Knowlton School faculty in 1988. She has also taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and has been a Senior Research Fellow at the Bauhaus Universität, Weimar, and the Technical University of Vienna. She is the author of Ideas of Order: A Formal Approach to Architecture (Kendall Hunt, 1994) and the multimedia digital video textbook, Architectural History 1, produced by iTunes University. Her most recent book is Architecture Guide: China (2016), co-authored with Evan Chakroff and Addison Godel.

Follow this link for access to over 40 youtube videos that take you from antiquity through mid-1800’s.

History of Architecture Youtube Playlist

If you just cannot get enough (like me) click here for another 100 episodes: iTunes History of Architecture Course

We would love to hear from you about what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends.

Feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,

FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


The History of Western Architecture in Photos

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Happy Friday and enjoy the brief history lesson!

Prehistoric Times: Stonehenge in Amesbury, United Kingdom
Jason Hawkes/Getty Images

Ancient Egypt: The Pyramid of Khafre (Chephren) in Giza, Egypt
Lansbricae (Luis Leclere)/Getty Images (cropped)

Classical: The Pantheon, Rome
Werner Forman Archive/Heritage Images/Getty Images (cropped)

Byzantine: Church of Hagia Eirene, Istanbul, Turkey
Salvator Barki/Getty Images (cropped)

Romanesque: Basilica of St. Sernin, Toulouse, France
Anger O./AgenceImages courtesy Getty Images

Gothic: Notre Dame de Chartres, France
Alessandro Vannini/Getty Images (cropped)

Renaissance: Villa Rotonda (Villa Almerico-Capra), near Venice, Italy
Massimo Maria Canevarolo via Wikimedia Commons

Baroque: Palace of Versailles, France
Loop Images Tiara Anggamulia/Getty Images (cropped)

Rococo: Catherine Palace near Saint Petersburg, Russia
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Neoclassicism: The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Architect of the Capitol

Art Nouveau: Hôtel Lutetia, 1910, Paris, France
Justin Lorget/chesnot/Corbis via Getty Images

Beaux Arts: The Paris Opéra, Paris, France
Francisco Andrade/Getty Images (cropped)

Neo-Gothic: The 1924 Tribune Tower in Chicago
Glowimage/Getty Images (cropped)

Art Deco: The 1930 Chrysler Building in New York City
CreativeDream/Getty Images

Modernism: De La Warr Pavilion, 1935, Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex, U.K.
Peter Thompson Heritage Images/Getty Images

Postmodernism: Celebration Place, Celebration, Florida
Jackie Craven

Neo-Modernism and Parametricism: Heydar Aliyev Centre, 2012, Baku, Azerbaijan
Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Prehistoric to Parametric: Prehistoric Stonehenge (left) and Moshe Safdie’s 2011 Marina Bay Sands Resort in Singapore (right)
Left: Grant Faint / Right: photo by William Cho

(Source: Craven, Jackie. “Architecture Timeline – Western Influences on Building Design.” ThoughtCo, Apr. 21, 2018, thoughtco.com/architecture-timeline-historic-periods-styles-175996)

We would love to hear from you about what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,

FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


An Introduction to the Architecture of the Italian Renaissance By Classical Architect and Artist ‪@FTerryArchitect ‬#RIBA #Architecture #Education #ilmaBlog

Earlier this year UK-based Francis Terry MA (Cantab), Dip Arch, RIBA Director, gave his office a wonderful presentation I would like to share with my audience:

Francis is part of a new generation of classical architects who have recently gained a reputation for designing high quality works of architecture. Francis’s pursuit of architecture grew out of his passion for drawing and his love of historic buildings. He studied architecture at Cambridge University qualifying in 1994. While at Cambridge, he used his architectural skills to design numerous stage sets for various dramatic societies including The Footlights, The Cambridge Opera Society and The European Theatre Group.

Terry along with his colleague also talk about classical architecture in modern times at a recent TEDx Talk:

More Information available by clicking here. Not only does his website display great examples of classical architecture but he has a great blog with interesting writings and videos.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,

FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


Understanding Classical Proportions in Architecture & Design #ILMA #ClassicalArchitecture #Design

662A391D-65D7-4ECA-9A3E-35D07140F9B4.jpegThe following is an easy to understand reference guide to understanding the basics of classical proportions:

Further reading:

  • Vitruvius: The Ten Books on Architecture by Vitruvius (Author), Herbert Langford Warren (Illustrator), Morris Hickey Morgan (Translator)
  • The American Vignola: A Guide to the Making of Classical Architecture by William R. Ware
  • The Five Books of Architecture by Sebastino Serlio
  • Canon of the Five Orders of Architecture by Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola (Author), John Leeke (Translator), David Watkin (Introduction)
  • The Four Books of Architecture by Andrea Palladio (Author), Adolf K. Placzek (Introduction)

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,

FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook