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Lafayette has created a new minor to prepare students for careers in architecture.

Engineering majors, art students, or any number of design-oriented students can declare an architectural studies minor, which consists of two required courses and four electives, to amplify their knowledge of the field before attending graduate school or seeking an industry job.

David Veshosky, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and chair of the A.B. engineering program, says the new program fulfills a distinct need at the College.

“We’ve had students go on to graduate school in architecture for quite a while now, going back at least 25 years and probably before that. It seems that by having a focus we can do a better job preparing them to go to the best possible architecture programs and do well there,” Veshosky says.

In addition to the required courses, History of Architecture and Architectural Design, students choose four classes from three perspectives: historical, design, and engineering. Veshosky says a design perspective course might be studio art and an engineering perspective might include engineering design.

“We felt that it was necessary to incorporate this range of perspectives to help students really appreciate the different aspects of architecture,” he says. “We also want to make sure that, just as Lafayette is a broad liberal arts college, this is a broad minor and students will be required to take a look at each of the three perspectives.”

Veshosky adds that he and the other two core program instructors — Robert S. Mattison, Metzgar Professor of Art, and Paul Felder of the Architectural Studio of Easton — each specialize in one of the three perspectives.

Recruiting community professionals like Felder and Sal Verrastro of Spillman Farmer Architects to teach the program’s courses will provide architectural studies students an added benefit.

“Although it’s rare for Lafayette to use adjunct professors, typically in architecture programs you want instructors who are doing it on a daily basis — not just theorists,” Veshosky explains.

Jenna Cellini ’06 (New City, N.Y), who plans to attend graduate school in architecture, believes the program is a great addition to Lafayette’s offerings.

“If I were a freshman with the same interests I have now, I would definitely take the architectural studies minor,” says Cellini, who is pursuing a B.S. in civil engineering and an A.B. with a major in art. “I think it will give students a broader understanding of some core areas.”

Cellini has prepared herself for her post-graduate work by taking many of the same art and engineering courses the minor program includes and by participating in special seminars, classes, and externships to understand the various dimensions of an architectural career.

But for the College, formalizing the connections between engineering and art speaks volumes about Lafayette’s multidisciplinary foundation.

“This is a very good combination and shows Lafayette really has the ability to branch out,” says Cellini. “It’s definitely a good step to offer such a specialty.”

Categorized in: Academic News