Architecture trip offers glimpse of the past, window to the future

Touring the streets of an unfamiliar metropolitan city is not everyday coursework for most students. But it was the experience for a group of Drury architecture students who recently returned from a four-day trip to Chicago this fall.

Bruce Moore is a professor at Drury’s Hammons School of Architecture and one of the instructors for ARCH 315, a design studio class for third-year architecture students. The class takes a field trip like this once every year, an experience Moore believes is essential to students’ education.

“Imagery is valuable,” he says, “but actually going into the buildings, touching the buildings, experiencing them as they feel, is just not the same as looking at pictures. You can describe it all you want to but going is something else.”

The class took the opportunity to tour many of Chicago’s well-known buildings and urban areas, including a walking tour downtown.

“Chicago is like a museum of architecture,” Moore says. “In one morning we were able to walk the history of architecture.”

Students will take the knowledge they gained and apply it to projects that they are working on in class. But the trip was about more than just witnessing examples of good architecture; it also provided students with a valuable peek into the lives of contemporary architects. The class paid visits to two different Chicago architecture firms, including an office tour at Perkins + Will, one of the top-ranking firms in the world.

“The visits gave me some new perspectives on things I haven’t thought about before,” says Drury architecture student Connor Stokes. “It’s much more of a team environment rather than just individual projects.”

At the second firm, Tilton, Kelly + Bell, students were even able to meet with an alum of the Hammons School of Architecture, Tiara Hughes.

“These days just about everywhere we go there are alumni in the area,” Moore says. He finds alumni are always more than happy to share their experience with current students, and Hughes was no exception.

“Tiara talked about the firm and spent a long time interacting with students about what it’s like to get out of school and get started working,” Moore says.

Students left the visits with valuable networking connections they can carry with them into the future.

“It’s definitely a good relationship builder,” says Stokes. “I know a few of our students from our third-year class are thinking about interning at a couple of the firms we visited.”

Moore believes that few other cities could allow for this kind of learning experience.

“To see all that work that is theoretical and academic work done by professionals who are exploring the fringes of architecture, pushing architecture into new areas – you can’t see that just anywhere.”

Story by Bryan Haynes, Office of Marketing & Communications graduate assistant

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