Saturday, January 29, 2011

Student Travel

All design students should be required to travel. I am not just saying this because I was lucky enough to be one of those students but because I have seen what students can learn from studying abroad.

On Thursday night I had the pleasure of attending a lecture by Hicks Stone, Principal Architect of Stone Architecture based out of New York City. The lecture was about his father Modernist Architect Edward Durell Stone. You may be thinking where is this going and how is it about students studying abroad well it was during this lecture that I saw the influence of Stones travels reflected in his work. Stone was the winner of the Roach Travelling Scholarship, which allowed him to travel for two years and study at the same time. It was during this time when he was able to learn from architects such as Mies van der Rohe and his German pavilion, Walter Gropius, and ancient architects of Italy. When you look at his work you can see the influence these architects and buildings made on him. For instance his work at the State University of New York at Albany you see the influence from Pompeii in the open central courtyard and grand water element, the colonnade from St. Peters Square in Rome and the prominent overhang of the German Pavilion in Barcelona.

Stone is not the only architect that was influenced by his travels abroad. Le Corbusier travels lead him to Paris where he worked for Auguste Perret and learned about reinforced concrete which later lead to his famous “Dom-ino” that all design students learn first year. Famous American Architects Louis Kahn and Frank Lloyd Wright also traveled frequently and show evidence of travel in their work.

The front page of the University of Arkansas website for prospective design students says in the first line “At the Fay Jones School of Architecture, you will encounter the world through international travel …” which shows the schools strong belief in International Travel. A student from the Fay Jones School of Architecture told me this on why students need to travel “ The architecture of one part of the world is not representative of the whole world and it is important to be able to draw from a large arsenal of design ideas. So by traveling the world and seeing all parts of architecture you will become a better designer.”

My time abroad taught me so many lessons and I believe I am a better designer because of it. I learned to use clean lines from Luigi Moretti, connections from Carlo Scarpa and experimentation from Renzo Piano. I truly believe all designers should travel if for any reason just to be exposed to new ideas. The benefit of traveling while in school is that most schools believe traveling is just as important and have scholarship money available. No one can give me a good reason why wouldn’t travel if someone is going to pay you to do it. The University of Arkansas has information on their Study Abroad website.

I decided to post a few of my photos from my time abroad so you guys can see how it was one of the best times of my life and why I encourage everyone to travel.

Eiffel Tower, Paris

Colosseum, Rome

German Pavilion, Barcelona

Sculpture in German Pavilion, Barcelona

Main Square, Brussels Belgium

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