STORIES

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ANDREA WESSON

3rd Year Architecture

During field trip week 2018, Josh Coggeshall’s 3rd year studio was able to travel to multiple places within the Midwest. On the first day, we traveled to Columbus, Indiana for the beginning of Exhibit Columbus. Our first stop was at the Miller Residence, where we were able to tour the interior of the house. It was so nice to be able to see, in person, the residence we had to draw in first year, putting everything into perspective and finally understand the spaces.

Later, we were able to explore around Columbus a little before our next destination, and we were able to meet Professor Chris Cornelius coincidently at his installation from last year’s Exhibit Columbus, Wiikiaami. Being able to meet him and have him explain in person what the overall concept of his design was, was incredible.

Our second day was in Cincinnati, Ohio. We visited Findlay Park, as well as Zaha Hadid’s Contemporary Arts Museum. Not only was the art inside the building beautiful, but the building its self was amazing to experience. We were also able to visit the University of Cincinnati campus and see some of the buildings there, such as DAAP by Peter Eiseman, the Rec Center by Morphosis, and the Wes Jones stairs. While these buildings were all different, the campus was beautifully inhabited by them.

The third day of our trip was in Columbus, Ohio, where we explored the Wexner Center and the contemporary art that was housed there. It was interesting to see how Peter Eiseman was able to the skewed grid and apply it to even the smallest details within the building to allow for better understanding of the building as well as create interesting spaces and interactions with the space. We were also able to tour the Knowlton School of Architecture at The Ohio State University. One of the most interesting things I found while exploring was the detail that was paid to the formwork of the poured concrete. Instead of polishing off the concrete or otherwise smoothing it down, we were able to all of the lines from the form work, even to the details of the countersinks that held the form work together. This detail of construction holds a beauty of its own.

Also while we were in Columbus, we stumbled on a small, public water feature that invited people to play in, which a few of my fellow students did. Not only was the water show beautiful in and of itself, but seeing this hidden beauty of a public space, that actually works the way the designer hopefully intended, was worth all the walking we did to actually find it.

On our fourth day, we spent most of the day visiting Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright. While we weren’t able to take pictures inside, one of my favorite parts, besides actually seeing Fallingwater, was the time we were able to spend just sitting and sketching. Throughout the whole trip, our professor actively encouraged us to stop and sketch, or take a picture and sketch it later, which I think we all found surprisingly difficult, as we were a little out of practice from first year. But being able to just sit for half an hour and sketch, sometimes with just gestural moves, then moving on to more details, was one of my favorite things from the trip.

During the evening, we stayed just off the campus of the University of Pittsburgh. While exploring the campus that evening, we were able to get into the Cathedral of Learning that is situated on campus. The interior, first three floors reminded me of Hogwarts, and I know if I went to U Pitt, I would be studying all the time just to be able to feel a little bit like Harry Potter. A few of us also went to a pub for dinner, where we killed the game at pub trivia, and by killed the game I mean we got murdered, except the one round we actually won.

Day five was our group exploring Carnegie Mellon and their architecture building. We met one of the professors there, who gave us a brief tour of their basement space that contained 3D printers, laser cutters, and robotic arms. We also had an interesting conversation about robots, artificial intelligence, and their role in the integrity of architecture. We also drove a little bit away from the city to get a little higher up vantage point, where we were able to see the city more in context in its relationship to the water and the many bridges that connect across the water.

 Our final day was spent in a couple places. First we stopped in Akron, Ohio to visit the Akron Art Museum, designed by Coop Himmelblau. One of the interesting facts that I learned about the art museum was the connection to the community. The basis of the old art institute was free classes in teaching art to the community, which still happens today and what I think is the most beautiful part of the museum. After Akron, we traveled to Kent State University to also visit their architecture school. My favorite part of this building was the almost excessively open floor plan, with all the studios open to each other, stepping up to each other. An interesting problem that some of our group found out about is that even with the large, open plan, the school will still need to create an addition at some point, as they are already running out of space.

Overall, this field trip week was much better than I think many of us anticipated. I was exciting to see some of the important architecture that appears even in the Midwest.