Why did you choose ISoA to teach architecture?
I was fortunate to be offered an adjunct position directly out of graduate school and thought that teaching would be a great opportunity to continue learning from the faculty I looked up to in school while also leaving an impression on students as they begin to build their careers.
How would you describe your focus/area of research in architecture to someone who is outside academia and the profession?
Within the School of Architecture, I contribute to the “detail + Fabrication” program area which can range from independent studies to workshops and tutorials for both undergraduate and graduate students. This came in part because I worked on a design-build project at the Student Sustainable Farm several years ago that introduced me to materiality and constructability, but also budgeting and marketing. In my own personal research/area of focus, I have been working on projects and collaborations that explore future tourism(s) at multiple scales and intentions. These have ranged from astronomy centers in the middle of the ocean to visitor stations on the moon and Mars.
Do anything interesting this past summer? The last place you traveled to?
Over the summer I was working on several architecture competitions in addition to several furniture pieces. The furniture pieces are part of a series of explorations of Cherry wood, including a coffee table, bench, and side table. The last place I traveled to? I guess that would be Seattle – I spent a week there over the summer visiting family.
Do you believe ISoA does a good job preparing students for a career in architecture?
I believe so, yes.
"I have been working on projects...rang(ing) from astronomy centers in the middle of the ocean to visitor stations on the moon and Mars" - David Emmons
If you could change one thing about architectural education, what would it be?
Any question about architectural education and pedagogy is tough…partly because what students do in school is often “other” or not related to what one would do in the profession of Architecture – but I do not necessarily consider that a bad thing. What I mean by that is students can learn a lot in school about how to design an imaginary structure or how to create a beautiful image, but at what cost? Is an imaginary structure or a beautiful image enough? I think that students in architecture often oversee how important it is to communicate verbally…specifically, how to listen. I guess in short you could say “listen more, draw less.”
Caption: Student projects from Arch 271 Graphics for Architects,taught by David Emmons and Andrea Melgarejo de Berry.
Do you keep in touch with former students? If yes, how?
Yes, actually. The students that continue on to graduate school often fill me in on what they are working on and where they plan to work over the summer or whatever. Often times it is through email, but sometimes through social media such as LinkedIn. Also, I try to talk with as many former students (now graduate students at U of I) as I can to find out what they are working on and sometimes invite them in to review sophomore and junior students of mine.
What one piece of advice would you give to current freshman architecture student? What do you wish you knew as an architecture student that you know now?
Ask questions. Be persistent. Find things within the field that truly interest you and explore them to the fullest. But mostly, ask questions…not just to professors, but to other students. Again, listen more, draw less.
What one thing would you recommend that would improve the life of being a student in the school of architecture?
Work in the studio, not at your apartment or your dorm. Work in the studio – watch movies in the studio, eat sandwiches in the studio, draw sketches of each other’s projects in the studio, drink coffee in the studio (but don’t spill please), listen to music in the studio, argue in the studio, listen to each other in the studio. Your life may not be more fulfilled, but it will certainly be more chaotic, which is good.