The Tessinerplatz, Zurich, from “The Swiss Touch in Landscape Architecture” exhibit in the Wright gallery.
With a condensed format allowing for more and shorter presentations to a wider audience, “Natural, Built, Virtual,” the 19th annual Texas A&M College of Architecture Research Symposium, commences Oct. 23 in the Langford Architecture Center’s Preston Geren Auditorium. This year’s daylong session will showcase research and creative work by college faculty and, for the first time, doctoral students.
“We’re blowing away symposium traditions of the past,” said Dawn Jourdan, the college’s executive associate dean and chief orchestrator of the event.
Beginning with an 8 a.m. continental breakfast and registration in the Langford B Exhibit Hall, the symposium features research relevant to natural, built and virtual environments in a series of terse, five-minute presentations abbreviated from talks previously delivered at scholarly venues around the world.
“This venue provides a rare opportunity for our faculty to share their work with their colleagues,” said Jourdan.
More than 50 presentations will cover broad ranging topics such as sustainability, resilience, heritage conservation, management, pedagogy, and more. The event is open to the public for no fee, but due to limited seating, registration (available online) is required. Breakfast, lunch and refreshments will be served to all symposium registrants, and college classes will be suspended for students to attend.
Michael Jakob, professor of landscape architecture history and theory at Hepia – Geneva University of Applied Sciences, will set a tone for the gathering with an 8:30 a.m keynote address, “Switzerland, the Idea of Nature, and Landscape Architecture,” in Geren Auditorium.
Complementing the keynote address, the College of Architecture’s Wright Gallery is hosting an exhibit curated by Jakob on the historic role of Swiss landscape architects. The exhibit, which opens the day of the symposium and runs through Dec. 1, will be assessible during the symposium. The Wright Gallery is located on the second floor of the Langford Architecture Center’s Building A.
This year, symposium presentations will be arranged in multidisciplinary sessions of four speakers, with each allowed five minutes to describe their work. The sessions will be followed by 10-minute question and answer periods. The expedited Geren Auditorium presentations contrast with previous years, which included a series of 20-minute presentations delivered back-to-back in several concurrent sessions, each under a specific topic.
“Instead of groups of like-minded scholars and audiences, we’re going to have a multidisciplinary dialogue on a wide range of topics running all day,” said Jourdan. “In a session with construction science, planning, architecture and visualization topics, audience members might hear about something they didn’t know existed.”
The symposium, said Jourdan, provides an opportunity for faculty to hear intriguing ideas outside their specialty and promises to evoke new, innovative research collaborations.
For students, the presentations illuminate the depth and breadth of research underway throughout the college.
“They can learn a little more about what makes us tick and perhaps become interested in participating in these projects as graduate students,” said Jourdan.
Also, for the first time at this year’s symposium, Ph.D. students who have presented at other peer-reviewed events are invited to share their research and creative work.
Established to underscore the influence of research on teaching and practice, the symposium serves as a catalyst for research-informed teaching in the college's degree programs. And, because many of the presentations were originally delivered at scholarly venues abroad, the event also showcases the global influence of research conducted by college faculty.