Q&A with Brandeis Architecture Club
This week, justArts spoke with three of the four executive-board members of the newly-conceived Brandeis Architecture Club, which had its first meeting last Wednesday. The club hopes to expand the number of opportunities for students interested in architecture.
But it also has a broader goal in mind — that of pushing for a recognized Architecture major. Three e-board members (Fei Xu ’16, Anna Rothstein’16 and Eric Lin ’16) are pursuing Independent Studies in Architecture.
Xu is the president of the club; Rothstein is the vice president; Lin is the secretary and Tom Hearne ’16, who could not attend the interview, is the publicity coordinator.
justArts: Tell me how the club was first conceived.
Anna Rothstein: So Fei and I lived in the same dorm sophomore year, and I was talking to him about it. I think he originally had the idea, and we decided to go from there. And I knew Eric was interested and Tom [Hearne ’16] was really interested. So the four of us got together and decided to just do everything we could to make it work.
JA: Tell me about the vision you have for your club.
Fei Xu: We wanted this club to be established because we just wanted to provide a platform for people on this campus who are really interested in architecture to make friends, to exchange ideas and to learn something together.
But we also wanted this club to be created because we want to just bolster the general understanding of architecture on campus and we also would like to have the Architecture Studies major be created eventually.
Eric Lin: So basically it’s kind of out of a gap of the interest in the students verses what academics provide us. So the club is kind of a way that we can socialize and network together and help each other out.
AR: And the club is not just for people who are only interested in architecture. It’s also for people who want to learn about architecture. It’s for people who like design or art, even.
JA: What are some of the steps that you would take to work towards an Architecture Major?
FX: I think the University didn’t approve their proposal (for an Architecture major) because of two reasons. One is they have to hire another person to teach architecture students, and the other is that they just simply doubt that there are enough people who are going to just declare this major.
So we believe that by creating this club that there are gonna be lots of people — or at least some people — that are going come over and we can show that there’s such a demand.
EL: We have a lot of Architecture classes in Brandeis, and there’s a lot of interest in terms of architecture through those courses. But the thing is, after you took those courses, there’s a gap between taking a course and actually applying for grad school.
There’s a lot of process such as making the technology behind making online models, now to make a portfolio, grad school programs—how does that work? So [this information is] lacking on campus. So a lot of people took courses in Architecture, and they express that they’re interested in Architecture, ,but they couldn’t find a resource that could guide them to the professional next step.
JA: Are you planning on partnering with architecture faculty or any related clubs on campus?
AR: We already have a bunch of professors who are standing behind us and the club. And we are also planning on working with the 3D Design club and hopefully work with the professors — Professor McClendon [(FA)], Professor Kauffman [(FA)], [Prof.] Chris Abrams [(FA)].
JA: In what ways are you working with professors?
FX: We are thinking about having some events with them. So, for example, we want to have the portfolio workshop and that is for people who are interested in applying to graduate school and jobs. And they need a portfolio, ... so we would like our professors to come and give their suggestions and critiques to the portfolio.
JA: Do you have any events that you are currently planning?
FX: [Tuesday, today,] we’re gonna have the SketchUp tutorial workshop. So, SketchUp is a program that helps people build a model on a computer and so build an architectural model on a computer. So tomorrow evening, we invite our club members to come over, and we’re gonna teach [them] how to use this program.
EL: I’m also currently contacting the archives. Because Brandeis archives has an amazing amount of documents and drawings about the Brandeis campus from the beginning of conception to these current buildings. So I’m trying to schedule a session with them so they can showcase their collections.
FX: In terms of a yearlong plan, for this semester, we are thinking about having some field trips. For example, we plan to organize people to go to Salem. There is [the Peabody Essex Museum].
There is a really beautiful Chinese architecture — [built] like 100 years ago. And in addition, we know that there are lots of other schools in this area. And for example, [the Massachusetts Institute of Technology] and the Harvard graduate school of design, they have very great resources that we can make use of. And so we’d like to bring our members to there and show them what’s the graduate school going to be. And also there are some guests coming to the events. So there’s gonna be free lectures. We can just bring people to get some ideas and thoughts.