Summer Studio and the ICAA’s Core Mission of Education
At the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA), we have been honored to host an array of distinguished speakers and guests, each boasting impeccable credentials, enviable awards and storied careers. We are humbled by all of them, and are grateful for their wisdom and expertise. And yet somehow one of our greatest highlights every year occurs when our third floor classroom and library come alive with the contagious energy of the talented and eager students who join us for the ICAA’s Summer Studio in Classical Architecture.
After all, as much as I relish the chance to recognize and celebrate great careers and life accomplishments of architects, artists, designers, it is just as great an honor to meet talented young students and getting a firsthand glimpse at classicism’s bright future! This is the promise of Summer Studio, and it is one of the strongest manifestations of the ICAA’s core mission of education, and of ensuring that the best of classical and traditional architecture and arts are carried forth into the future.
For a full month, it has been wonderful to come to work and encounter a classroom buzzing with life, filled with students hard at work on their mockups of classical pavilions for Prospect Park, their beautiful wash renderings, or their precise measured drawings from on-site visits, among the many projects they were engaged in. This is what all of us at the ICAA have had the pleasure of witnessing, culminating with the presentation of final projects so refined that you would be surprised to learn that for many of the students this was their first experience working in the classical tradition.
While those of us in New York have had the opportunity to follow along with Summer Studio students as they have been immersed in their studies, I hope that everyone has had the chance to take a look at our weekly series featuring their day-by-day accounts and four video interviews in which they share highlights of the program. If you haven’t yet taken a look, you can find the full series on the ICAA’s website.
Video interview from Week 2 in the series, featuring students Gary Glinsey and Christian Galindo-Torres.
We are fortunate in New York to be able to offer a thorough exploration of all that the classical tradition has to offer in a rich environment, where students can not only see monumental architecture, monuments, and sculpture, but can explore neighborhoods and parks that offer lessons on the potential to beautify daily life and to elevate the urban environment. Students were able to observe residential neighborhoods and record the details of material, scale, and legibility that lend themselves to an environment that provides not only continuity, but an articulate web of meaning. From rowhouses to university campuses, and from doric columns to ceilings of Gustavino tiles, Summer Studio students are treated to a full expression of classical and traditional building, highlighting the capacity for beautiful design to benefit everyone.
Thanks to generous support from the Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust, the ICAA is able to offer scholarships to offset tuition and housing costs, enabling students of all financial backgrounds to participate. Coming from all over the United States, this year’s students were all so incredibly talented, and I can’t help but feel that we at the ICAA truly had the greater honor in being able to host them. The joy and enthusiasm that they bring to their studies is infectious, and brings a special energy to the Institute as a whole.
In an exciting summer season of new developments for the ICAA, Summer Studio remains an absolute highlight and a strong expression of the ICAA’s commitment to our educational mission. It is a transformative program that offers a unique and enriching experience to college students at a time when they are making critical decisions about their future practices.
Perhaps there is no better summary of the program than these words from a participating student:
“Thank you so much for providing me with the experience of studying classical architecture. As someone who hopes to practice classical/neo-traditional architecture in the future, the skills which you provided me with will hopefully serve as a foundation for my future training/career. Being in New York, and discovering that a dream which I thought was intangible for many years is still very VERY tangible has given me so much energy and motivation to design buildings similar to those I have always loved.”
The ICAA’s exciting momentum in our educational programming will continue with our first Professional Intensive to be hosted in San Francisco this September, upcoming Workshops at Auburn University, Ball State University, and the University of Colorado, Denver, and the debut of Grand Tour, an expansion of the ICAA’s New Heights program for middle schoolers, which will bring students from Public Prep schools in Harlem and the Bronx to the campus of Columbia University. There is always so much more to come at the ICAA!