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Norwich Architecture

A Hidden Major

By Thomas Carson
On December 8, 2011

Since they spend so many hours holed up in their studios, architecture students might be considered a "hidden" major at Norwich.

Architecture is a four-year undergraduate program, but what makes this major different from any other is the dedication and will power needed to make it through and graduate with a degree in architecture, students said.

"Studio is three days a week, and in class it is about four hours and on Friday it's five (hours), so in class it's 13 hours a week, so maybe about 26 hours a week" said Karla Brent, a 20-year-old sophomore architecture major from Lancaster, Pa.

"It's definitely time consuming, but I like it because it keeps me busy," Brent added. "There are times where it does stress me out, but it keeps life exciting."

"It makes you think," said Nu Ferguson, an 18-year-old architecture major from Concord, N.H. "It's not challenging in the sense that it's really hard like math or physics, but it is very conceptual."

"It's very tedious, but I like the hard work," Ferguson added.

Aside from in-class time and regular homework, architecture students are required to do projects for their classes. "I would have to say that I do about four projects a semester," Brent said.

As a third-year architecture student, C. William Thaxter, 20, from Pepperell, Mass., explained that "The main thing is that it is tedious. The detail that goes into the drawings as well as the models take up a lot of time and you are always being critiqued causing you to have to make adjustments to the designs."

Since architecture is such a time-consuming and tedious major, students say they need the drive to want to work with architecture after college.

"I think that architecture is like a creative engineering. I always was good at math and science, so I think that architecture was a good fit," Brent said.

"In addition to time, you need the skills to draw and to compose a building structurally as well as aesthetically," Thaxter said.

"I have always been interested in buildings," Ferguson said. "Whenever (my family) would travel, I would always look at the buildings."

"I personally chose the architecture degree because I like to draw and I think that using my application of my capabilities is well suited for the demand of architecture," Thaxter said.

Outside of the classroom, architecture students offer quite a bit for Norwich and the community. Students designed the Kreitzberg Arena, and have also helped build the solar house that can be found on Disney Field.

"(Norwich's architecture students) are trying to enter (the solar house) into the Solar Decathalon Competition in Washington, D.C.," Brent said.

Norwich architecture students are also reaching out to the Vermont community. Students are currently designing a food shelf for a real site in Rutland, Vt. for the Vermont Food Bank.

Architecture is one of the Norwich majors with a club on campus. AIAS (American Institute of Architecture Students) has a chapter for Norwich students. There is a $45 fee to join; members go on field trips, compete in competitions and can land internships.

Aside from special clubs and school projects, Norwich pays for a field trip for the architecture students for each year to allow each class to gain hands-on experience.

"This year (the sophomore class) went to the Vermont Food Bank in Barre, because our project for this semester is to create a food shelf in Rutland," Ferguson said.

 


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