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Professor strives to inspire passion for poetics of architecture

He challenges them to not only appreciate the function of architecture, but its ability to broaden a view of the world as well.

To accomplish that goal, Viscardi assigned a semester-long project that required students to create a personal dwelling to observe and document the cycle of a day in a life.

Students in Architectural Design Studio III were also instructed to build their structures to allow for a singular ritual that reflects the life of the architect—be it a mundane task such as sleeping or eating, or a more evolutionary process that reflects self-perception or personal enlightenment. The finished works were showcased in a reception held in March in the lobby of Chandler-Ullman, the home of the art and architecture department.

`The experience of the building’

"Architecture is a highly personal act," says Viscardi. "By participating in this project, the students learn how, and in what ways they project themselves into their structures."

Jess Maurer ’04, an architecture major, says her involvement with this project helped her become "more aware of my design decisions and what they mean to my projects."

Maurer and other students progressed through the project by transitioning from charcoal sketches to wood structures, and were instructed to re-evaluate conventional notions of architectural elements as the work evolved.

"I found that I became more aware of the aesthetic and structural decisions that I make and their relationship to the piece," says Maurer of the process.

Adds Ray Demers ’04, an architecture major: "Professor Viscardi changes our view of what a building is. He challenges even the notion of what we perceive a wall is, or a light, or a door. He emphasizes the experience of the building."

The ultimate goal of the project, Viscardi explains, is to inspire passion in his students.

"I aim to teach them the many levels of architecture, and to make them more creative humans with constructive imaginations," he said. "I want them to understand the poetics of architecture."

--Sarah Piperato
smp6@lehigh.edu

Posted on Thursday, April 03, 2003

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