The Department of Architecture and Design at Alfred State has announced the winners of this year’s Bob Pahl Award, given annually to two students who kept the top sketch journals while studying abroad in Sorrento, Italy, as part of their urban sketching course.
The honor began in 2012 and is named for Bob Pahl, a Boston-area architect, who graduated from Alfred State in 1981 with a degree in architectural engineering technology. Pahl donated the first- and second-place prizes, which were presented this year to Taquon Middleton, of Brooklyn, who received $800, and Kara Anderson, of Ontario, who received $200.
Nicholas Cultrara, of Buffalo, was the recipient of a $100 third-place prize, which was donated by Professor Joy Carlson. All three students are architectural technology majors.
“We are extremely grateful to Bob for his generous donation each year,” said Jeffrey Johnston, assistant professor in the Architecture and Design Department and coordinator of the study abroad program in Sorrento. “The Bob Pahl Award provides a valuable incentive for Sorrento architecture students to carefully document, through drawings, their travel experiences and observations.”
Pahl said as a freshman, new to college but with a love of architecture, walking into Johnston’s introduction to architecture course was a dream come true.
“He inspired me, through his talk of travels and his incredible talent in sketching, to make architecture my passion and my life,” said Pahl. “I sketch daily in my profession, and love to give back to the place that had such an impression in my life. I also want to keep the ‘art alive in architecture,’ supporting hand sketching any way I can.”
Pictured, from left, are Jeffrey Johnston, assistant professor in the Architecture and Design Department; Dr. Kristin Poppo, vice president of academic affairs; architectural technology majors Taquon Middleton, of Brooklyn, Kara Anderson, of Ontario, and Nicholas Cultrara; and Dr. Cristiana Panicco, president of Sant’Anna Institute in Sorrento, Italy.
Alfred State students in the Architecture and Design department are helping to improve the quality of the built environment in Allegany County and the surrounding region through a number of Southern Tier Architectural Resource (STAR) Center civic engagement projects.
The STAR Center is a collaboration of two organizations in the department: the Architecture Club and the Interior Design Club, which, through the promotion of sound design and planning principles, seek to enhance the local built environment.
Last semester, architectural technology majors Jeremy Dearing, of Allentown, PA, and Andrew Scott, of Arverne, NY, proposed designs for a project at Pioneer Park in Dansville. The project involved creating a place for a monument marking the park as Dansville’s first cemetery - where many are still interred - as well as landscaping and lighting work.
“What the clients were proposing was fairly low impact and it was really meant to just formalize the park and create a place for a new monument that they had already made,” said Bill Dean, chair of the department of Architecture and Design. “Most of the time you would create the plan first and then place the monument. They had the monument first and it was like, ‘All right, where do we put it?’
“Jeremy and Andrew worked on that and talked about two different possible locations for the monument and did renderings of what that might look like, just to kind of give them some guidance.”
Dearing said, “I’m very glad that I was able to get some real hands-on experience with actual clients.”
In the fall of 2013, Dean said, two students through the STAR Center also presented designs for a project that involved placing a welcome sign in downtown Bath. The clients ultimately chose architectural technology major and Syracuse, NY, native Katie Dussing’s plan.
“We’ve done a lot of these conceptualizations but we’re starting to see more activity with actually implementing them,” Dean said, “which is nice because it’s great to have the ideas on paper but you want to see them built at some point.”
Since 2013, according to Dean, the STAR Center students have undertaken eight typically infrastructure-related civic engagement projects, mainly in the Southern Tier. Potential upcoming projects include conceptual planning for a pocket park in Scio, documenting existing conditions for a veterans’ center in Rushford and for a building in downtown Buffalo, and a master plan for Lions Camp Badger in Spencer, NY.
Another project involves two students working with the Alfred State Sustainability Committee on converting an L-shaped area near the Central Dining Hall into a community garden.
“It’s not a huge space, it’s not a big project, but any place we can help, we’re happy to give the students that type of experience,” Dean said. “We don’t know if the garden is going to be edibles or perennials. That hasn’t been decided yet.”
Libby Dussault, an architecture and interior design student, from Horseheads, NY, said the STAR Center provides an awesome opportunity for students.
“It’s a good way to meet and work with other people and form relationships and learn how to work on a project with someone else because we do a couple of partner projects in the studio but nothing that has follow-through and you don’t see the end result and I think working with clients, that’s a good opportunity, too,” she said.
Dean noted, “These students are actually getting that experience of talking to people about their problems and helping them develop solutions to the extent that they can do that through an academic exercise, so I think it really provides a tremendous experience for the students that they’re not going to get in every architecture program.”
Pictured in photo above are, from top, counter-clockwise, Alfred State architectural technology majors Jeremy Dearing and Andrew Scott, and members of the Pioneer Park Committee Patricia Kreiley, Paul Hoffman, and Jane Schryver. The students worked with the committee members on a civic engagement project at Pioneer Park in Dansville last semester through the college’s Southern Tier Architectural Resource (STAR) Center.
Architecture students in Design Studio 1 at Alfred State were able to actualize their plans for a housing-design project and gain hands-on experience thanks to A-Verdi Storage Containers, which let the students borrow a shipping container to use in their endeavor.
Architecture and Design Department Assistant Professor Terry Palmiter and Professor Richard Carlo tasked the students last month with designing a temporary living environment for a single family unit within the confines of a standard 20-foot shipping container. They were divided into 15 groups of three, with one student serving as the programmer, another as the client, and the third student as the designer.
The programmer interviewed the client, who created a hypothetical scenario based on what his or her future family would be like and what sort of housing that family would require if affected by a natural disaster. The programs were shuffled and handed out to a group member who would design a “house” based on the program he or she received.
Students then created real-scale household items out of cardboard, including a toilet, a tub, a refrigerator, and more. This, according to Carlo, allowed students to study human dimensions and the relationship to critical or essential residential living activities.
“The idea of making the cardboard items was so that they could just start to see the limits of what one container was like and maybe get a feel for the interaction of scale of standard objects based on human performance within a limited space like the container,” said Carlo.
The class was able to secure usage of the container because an uncle of one of Palmiter’s students, Robert Apgar, an architectural engineering technology major, from Waterloo, owns Savannah-based A-Verdi Storage Containers, the premier provider of storage and office solutions throughout New York State. After Apgar approached his uncle, Joe Verdi, about the possibility of letting the students borrow a container, Verdi complied.
The container gave students a chance to apply their plans to an actual, limited-space area.
“Normally, it’s just lines on a drawing,” said Alexandra DiMaria, a Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) major from Orchard Park. “You can imagine it and picture it but it’s nice to be actually in a space with life-sized objects to kind of see how you can change your design and move things around and how things would work out better, what constraints you have. It makes the assignment more real.”
Adrienne Drumm, a BArch major from Tully, said the project allowed the students to think about space a lot differently.
“In most of our projects, we have an unlimited amount of space, we just have to come up with a good idea, so you just kind of make these giant rooms and do whatever, but once you actually are forced to fit within a 10-by-20 container, you really have to think about how you’re going to fit everything you need in there without having to climb over a desk, basically,” Drumm said.
Carlo said, “I think part of the reason that we do this project with a container is, if you say, ‘Design a house,’ people tend to fix on the mental model of the house they grew up in and they mimic that. But when we say, ‘Design a living facility for this imaginary program that we’ve made and, by the way, it has to be in containers,’ they have to rethink the entire idea of what a house is.”
Pictured above are several Alfred State sophomore Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) students inside the container they utilized for a recent housing-design project. The students borrowed the container from A-Verdi Storage Containers out of Savannah.
The village of Savona recently received some help with envisioning its comprehensive plan after Alfred State architecture students presented their designs for the future layout of the municipality Oct. 28 at the Campbell-Savona Elementary School.
Village officials and roughly 25 residents listened as 10 students in Professor William Dean’s Urban Design Studio class shared their visions for five sections of Savona. These included a residential area, the Cohocton River Trail, the western side of town, a mixed use commercial area, which would feature a senior living community, and the Four Corners area, which would include a boutique hotel and a Dollar General that matches the look of the surrounding buildings.
“The goal was to create a vision from the work that the community had already done as far as further developing what they wanted in the comprehensive plan,” said Dean, chair of the Department of Architecture and Design. “We tried to remain as faithful to that document as possible. That’s not to say that the students didn’t bring their own design experience into it, but I kept driving home the point throughout the project that we wanted our work to be an extension of the comprehensive plan.”
The students spent eight weeks on the project, which began in August with a tour of the village led by Mayor Gregge Harrian, and included an interim critique by a panel composed of Harrian; Nicolette Barber, a planner from HUNT Engineers, Architects and Surveyors out of Horseheads; and members of the village’s Comprehensive Plan Committee.
“After meeting with the mayor and the committee, the students took their comments to heart and continued to develop their designs for the final presentation,” Dean said.
According to Dean, the students’ designs received a lot of positive feedback throughout the process and were well-received during the presentation.
Brittany Varengo, an architectural technology major from Syracuse, said, “We were able to connect to the people on a personal level and know that our hard work was appreciated.”