19th symposium showcased faculty, Ph.D. student projects

Adopting a condensed format that allows for more and shorter presentations to a wider audience, the 19th annual Texas A&M College of Architecture Research Symposium, “Natural, Built, Virtual,” showcased research and creative work by college faculty and doctoral students.

“We blew away symposium traditions of the past,” said Dawn Jourdan, the college’s executive associate dean and chief orchestrator of the event.

The symposium, which took place in the Langford Architecture Center's Preston Geren Auditorium, featured research relevant to natural, built and virtual environments in a series of terse, five-minute presentations abbreviated from talks previously delivered at scholarly venues around the world.

More than 50 presentations covered broad-ranging topics such as sustainability, resilience, heritage, management, pedagogy, and more.

Michael Jakob, professor of landscape architecture history and theory at Hepia – Geneva University of Applied Sciences, set a tone for the gathering with his keynote address, “Switzerland, the Idea of Nature, and Landscape Architecture.

Complementing the keynote address, the College of Architecture’s Wright Gallery is hosting an exhibit Jakob curated on the historic role of Swiss landscape architects. The exhibit, which runs Oct. 23 – Dec. 1, will be open during the symposium on the second floor of the Langford A building.

This year, symposium presentations were arranged in multidisciplinary sessions of four speakers, with each taking five minutes to describe their work. The sessions will be followed by 10-minute question and answer periods. The expedited presentations, all in Geren Auditorium, contrast with previous years, which included a series of 20-minute presentations delivered back-to-back in several concurrent sessions, each under a specific topic.

“Instead of groups of like-minded scholars and audiences, we’re going to have a multidisciplinary dialogue on a wide range of topics running all day,” said Jourdan. “In a session with construction science, planning, architecture and visualization topics, audience members might hear about something they didn’t know existed.”

The symposium, said Jourdan, provided an opportunity for faculty to hear intriguing ideas outside their specialty and consider new, innovative research collaborations.

“Our faculty rarely get an opportunity to share their work with their colleagues,” she said.

For students, the presentations illuminated the depth and breadth of research underway throughout the college.

“They learned a little more about what makes us tick and perhaps became interested in participating in these projects as graduate students,” said Jourdan.

Also, for the first time at this year’s symposium, Ph.D. students who have presented at other peer-reviewed events shared their research and creative work.

Established to underscore the influence of research on teaching and practice, the symposium served as a catalyst for research-informed teaching in the college's degree programs. And, because many of the presentations were originally delivered at scholarly venues abroad, the event also showcased the global influence of research conducted by college faculty.

 

Richard Nira
rnira@arch.tamu.edu

posted September 14, 2017