At every school of architecture, students are offered an ultimate test, an opportunity to show that they have assimilated the teachings of their faculty, synthesized the curricula, and are able to produce a competent architectural project. At the UA School of Architecture, the opportunity for a student to demonstrate worthiness to become an Architect is the Capstone: the final project in the five-year Bachelor of Architecture degree. Over two semesters, students are asked to envision an issue, take a stand, and figure out how design can make a difference.
In the review, each student makes a presentation of his/her project for review by UA School of Architecture professors, industry professionals, and members of the local community associated with the projects.
Leading up to the fifth year Capstone project, each year students in the program take on projects in their classes and receive a Final Review. We recently caught up with Nathan Hyman, a third-year student in the five-year Bachelor of Architecture degree program, and talked with him about his current projects.
UA COLLEGE OF ARCHITECTURE AND LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE: Tell us about your Materials and Methods class project.
NATHAN HYMAN: The idea for our Materials and Methods class was to design an adaptive facade according to the styles of an assigned professional architecture firm. Roy Peer, Jason Baiocchi and I were partnered for this semester long project. We began by investigating a new BIM, or building information modeling program, Revit. It is different than other design programs in that everything you draw has specific material properties which are highly customizable. We used this program to generate and document our design throughout the class. What was really cool about using this program is that it's beginning to take over the professional world. Many firms are dedicating their time and money to teaching senior employees new programs, but now that students are learning them, we can enter the professional world with something new and highly desired to offer.
UACALA: You worked on a studio project at the same time as your team project. How was that a different experience?
NH: Our studio project was different than the materials project in that it was an individual project and that we were designing for a real client with a detailed list of programmatic requirements. We use our studio projects as a melting pot for everything we learn in our other classes. The idea is that we learn detailed aspects of how to create buildings in class, then take what we learn and apply it to our studio project. This project spanned about 7 or 8 weeks and multiple design phases. These projects are always exciting because you get to design however you want to. The teachers keep you inspired and on track, but the majority of the project is your own original content.
UACALA: What is the transition like for you from 2nd year to 3rd year? What are you studying in the program and what is the program's focus in 3rd year?
NH: The transition from 2nd to 3rd year was much smoother than I had anticipated. Since I first entered this school, I saw the projects older students were producing and wondered if I would ever be that good, but as you progress through the program you find yourself very prepared to take on new challenging projects. This last studio was themed for land ethics which is basicaly preserving nature and designing by altering as little of the natural environment as possible through sustainable systems and appropriate building location. The more land you dig up or lay cement over, the more you disrupt natural ecosystems and the natural beauty of the site.
UACALA: What's coming up next semester? How does first semester 3rd year feed into second semester 3rd year?
NH: Next semester we will focus on tectonics. This studio will most likely apply the use of light weight structure and materials. The flow from land ethics to light weight structures is understandable in the sense that tectonic design doesn't disrupt the site as much as stereotomic design would.
UACALA: What are you doing during the semester break?
NH: I'm leaving for Israel on the 28th with my sister. We are going on the Birthright Foundation. We are going to hike the mountains near Jerusalem, float in the Dead Sea and explore some towns near Tel Aviv.