Vertical Building Studio: Student Perspective

“Building Studio is a vertical building design studio offered to 2,3,4 and 5-yr students every spring. Students study and produce detailed material and structural characteristics of architectural elements (foundation, wall, floor, roof, opening, etc) – connected to different types of construction systems. The semester begins from the specific, in order to draw design depth from the technical preconditions that define the limits of architectural production.” – Building Studio 2023 Syllabus

Initial View

My class was the first to go through the vertical studio as 2nd-year students.  At first, it felt intimidating to use different types of software we had little knowledge of, work with upper-level students, and feel as if we did not match up to what I defined as “the standard .”Seeing upper-level students with so much academic experience and how they could fly through the software was intimidating.  It was frustrating knowing that starting something would take three times as long because I did not know what I was doing.  

Shifting Roles

Looking back at my initial fear, I tend to laugh at myself.  I will not deny that it was intimidating.  However, it was vital for my architectural education.  Building Studio taught me to look at the technical details, how to use software systems, and how to do physical models, all of which a typical architecture student knew. 

Building Studio helped develop my communication skills, my ability to adapt, and how to work with others that think similarly and differently than me on a professional side.  The studio even helped me build my confidence in my educational experience and as a person.  However, it taught me more than the academic side of the studio. 

This year, we are the upperclassmen of the building studio.  I was now a leader rather than a follower, and I was tasked with helping the second-year students to feel comfortable and that they could express their ideas and not feel intimidated.  It felt different going into the studio, and there was more confidence and composure for it.  We knew what to expect in terms of assignments and graphically what is and what is not acceptable.  

Final Thoughts

The beauty of the vertical building studio is it allows us as students to grow in ways we would have never imagined as first-year students.  It gives us a sneak peek into the profession while guiding us to make us the best we can be.  The vertical studio will help us branch out and find new ways of communicating with others of different ages or skill sets.  We must think of various forms of explaining things and rephrasing that helps everyone learn.  

Aliyah Immeker

Aliyah is currently a third-year architecture student enrolled at South Dakota State University. She is the current Social Media Coordinator of SDSU’s AIAS chapter and has learned so much from her leadership role in the organization. She will be the 2023-2024 SDSU AIAS President and has many ideas for the upcoming year. She is still working towards her BFA in architecture and plans to pursue an M.Arch.

One Reply to “Vertical Building Studio: Student Perspective”

  1. I’m a fan of the curriculum with an outsider’s perspective that it will help build a well-rounded exposure and curiosity about the technical side of architecture that tends to run us over after graduation. Cooperative teamwork and mentoring are also on the list. Thanks for your perspective on the vertical studio!

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