Photo Credit Jan Garrison
Chipman, Saunders donating time, talent
February 12, 2020

Two members of the class if 1968 are working with Fine Arts instructor Jack Williams to develop a special four-week, eight-class session introducing his Drawing I students to architectural design.

Architects John Chipman and Steve Saunders have been meeting with Williams to formalize the mini-session that will give students a taste of what it is like to draw and, eventually, design buildings. Chipman is the founder and CEO of Chipman Design Architecture. Saunders is the emeritus principal of Eckenhoff Saunders Architects. Both firms are in Chicago.

Chipman and Saunders worked with Williams and his Drawing I students this fall to discuss different aspects of architectural design. That included a blueprint session at the White-DeVries Rowing Center, which Chipman designed.

John Chipman (left) tells students about the design process of the White-DeVries Rowing Center.

The students started by drawing different forms like cylinders, squares, and rectangles placed together to introduce them to the basic concepts. They eventually walked around campus and sketched buildings.

Williams also borrowed from the Culver Academies Museum and Gift Shop some of the scale buildings used in the model railroad collection of Col. Edward Payson for the class to study and draw.

After the mini-session finished, Chipman, Saunders and Williams met to discuss and refine what they had covered and to develop the upcoming spring session. Plans are for the mini-session to begin two weeks before spring break and finish two weeks after the students return. This would give them time to get outside, study, and draw buildings on campus, Williams said.

A student drawing of the Huffington Library from the fall session.

Either Chipman and Sanders will meet with the students during one class each week. Williams will then use the following class to reinforce what the architects cover. The classes meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The mini-session will include the fundamental principles involved in architectural drawing as students work with geometric perspective and volume in their designs. One assignment may be the students redesigning their rooms to maximize the space they have.

Students could also expand on what they have learned as they consider Fine Arts honors projects and senior service projects. Chipman said it would be interesting to see if a group of students could design a small home using LEED (Leaderhip in Energy and Environmental Design) sustainability principles as a project.

Chipman and Sanders believe the sessions could serve as a springboard for students to consider architecture as a career. It will be set up to give them a basic understanding of the design process. It could also spur interest in careers in industrial and graphic design.

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