News Column

High schoolers work in UI studios

July 11, 2014

By Samantha Malott, Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Moscow, Idaho

July 11--For many students, this week's Summer Design Week at the University of Idaho reaffirmed their plans to study art and architecture after high school.

Deona Swager just graduated from high school in Buhl, Idaho, and will be attending the UI come August, where she is planning on majoring in architecture or interior design.

"I really like math and I really like art, and I just kind of combined the two and came up with architecture," Swager said.

During her week on campus, she and 23 other students were given the task of creating a project, based on a common abstract design. Student projects ranged from art pieces to building or landscape designs, said Phillip Mead, Summer Design Week director.

Swager said the project gave her the chance to get what she hopes is a preview of her classes this fall.

"I've taken art classes, but never architecture," she said.

Many students came from small schools that don't have the art and design opportunities larger ones have, Mead said. This week gives them a chance to get hands-on experience in a studio working with college faculty, he said. Faculty members from each of the College of Art and Architecture's areas -- architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, virtual technology and art -- have been teaching and working with the students.

Eli Beauchamp, a senior in Idaho Falls who hopes to pursue either architecture or engineering, said his favorite part was being able to spend time in the studio working on a physical product, rather than just listening to lectures about it.

"We wanted students to experience the studio and how to create a design," Mead said.

Students are discovering the design principles of drawing and making a model, while realizing how the different disciplines can work together in the professional world, Mead said.

"They discover that design is a broad field but has common principles that combine everything," he said.

For Kelsey Reder, a senior at San Ramon Valley High School in Danville, Calif., the week helped her see how a major such as architecture would be applied outside of college.

"I've been really into architecture and design for like ever," she said. "I've heard it was a really good program, and I wanted to see if it was something I was actually interested in."

"Coming here has definitely confirmed my desire to be an architecture or art major," she said.

Reder's final project for the week was an art piece that she described as a representation of time and the many ways people can view it.

All the students worked from the same abstract image that they were told to re-imagine to create their own interpretation of it.

Swager said she went through nearly seven different iterations from the original image before it became an open-concept concert venue.

She then moved on to foam and block models, and finished her final model using task board, a cardboard-like material used to create 3-D models.

The 3-D project depicted a amphitheater-reminiscent stage with unusual seating and architectural elements.

"Music isn't enclosed, you express yourself through it," she said.

"They are trying to get it (their project) to have an emotional impact," said Mead.

Samantha Malott can be reached at (208) 883-4639, or by email to


(c)2014 the Moscow-Pullman Daily News (Moscow, Idaho)

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Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News (ID)

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