Experience UTK CoAD

Welcome to the Official Blog of the College of Architecture and Design at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Entries in Students (3)


Landscape Architecture Students in Spain and Portugal

Landscape Architecture students from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, embarked on a 16-day mini-term to Spain and Portugal in May 2012. Touring its famous landscapes and gardens, here are images of their adventures. 

To read narratives of the students' experiences while abroad, check-out Angelike Angelopoulos' blog, "Spain + Portugal: A trip through 'Glorious Gardens.'"


Memento Vivere: UT Student Explores Italy's Architecture Through Summer Mini-Term

Christina Lulich, an architecture student of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, embarked on a tour of Italy this May through the College's mini-term course, "Photographing Florence." The nearly two-week adventure explored Florence, Rome, and Siena under the direction of lecturer Diane Fox

Describing the activities of the program, Fox said, "the course focused on the basic functions of the camera, relationships between photographer and subject, motion, composition and framing, point of view, and exposing for light and shadow."

She adds: "Could there be a more inspirational environment to begin the process of looking through the lens then Italy?"

Lulich seems to agree. Her beautifully written blog, Memento Vivere, shares some of her experiences as a student of the UT travel abroad program. Here she allows the College of Architecture and Design to share one of her many adventures - her visit to Rome. 

Christina Lulich, May 26, 2012:

Another early morning and long day of walking. We were eating breakfast downstairs by 7:30 and headed to the Colosseum less than an hour later. As our bus neared the Colosseum, I began to recognize places I’d learned about in my architecture history class this past semester, scattered amongst the ruins. I recognized the Temple of Saturn instantly, although I had forgotten it was even located in Rome. The Column of Trajan was easy to spot, but I’d already seen it the day before. The Arch of Constantine was noticeable from afar as well as the Colosseum next to it. When we later walked through the Roman Forum, I recognized the Basilica of Maxentius. The ability to recognize the ruins on the spot and remember some of their significance was amazing. My heart skipped a couple beats from just being in their presence and walking on the same ground that Romans walked during Jesus’s time.

The textures in the Colosseum struck me most. The brick, almost two thousand years old, was worn and weathered, cracking, chipped or broken. The structure was filled with rich stories of nautical battles, gladiator games, sweat beading down the faces of the spectators, death, entertainment, thievery, decay, deterioration, preservation, and education. The Colosseum walls are filled with large indentations and gaps where marble or other adornments were stolen or just relocated for other use. Much of the marble that embellished its structure was reused in the Vatican and in the homes of wealthy families. I mentally replaced what was stolen, laid wood flooring above the originally underground tunnels on the stadium’s bottom level, and filled the floor with sand. I unrolled canvas above parts of the stadium that received the most light from the sweltering sun above, and the crowds cheered around me.
The Roman Forum was similarly provoking, although everything there was in a further state of decay than the Colosseum. Seeing the ruins in person was awesome and hardly describable. There were broken pieces of marble columns scattered about the landscape, their details so worn that many edges were completely smooth. The Temple of Saturn was so much more real than the photos on my history flashcards. I realized as I studied the Forum that when I memorized everything, nothing was real. Each building was a figment of the past, a memory. When I stood in its presence, it was real. Walking through the Forum, we passed the Arch of Titus, the Arch of Septimius Severus, the Basilica of Maxentius, the Temple of Venus, and the Temple of Saturn, among other ruins I didn’t recognize.
Me and Emily at the Pantheon
From the Roman Forum, we walked to the Pantheon, stopping for lunch on the way. We walked past one of Mussolini’s homes and saw the balcony from which he gave the famous speech that brought Italy into World War 2.
The Pantheon was even more moving to me than anything else I’d seen that day. After having used the Pantheon as a sort of minor precedent for my final studio design this semester, there was much to gain from seeing it in person. It felt nothing like I could have imagined from the photos. The interior space was large and circular, the dome wide and tall. The oculus seemed disproportionately large. The square coffers in the dome started large at the dome’s base and gradually became smaller as they neared the huge oculus at the top. I’d never seen coffers so large. I can’t explain why the space was so awesome to stand in, but all I could think of throughout the experience was how badly I wanted to attend service there. My experience in the Pantheon remains superseded only by my experience walking within the Duomo dome. 
We passed through Piazza Navona briefly before heading back to the bus. The four hour bus ride back was a much needed break for my feet, which were blistering and cramping from walking for two days straight. My experience in Rome was incredible, but I will definitely have to return in the future. Two days is just not enough time to experience all that Rome has to offer.

Arch of Constantine


  Temple of Saturn Roman Forum
Column Ruins of Roman Forum
 PantheonPantheon coffering and oculus Pantheon Interior; Raphael's Tomb is in One of the ApsesInteresting Porch Space in Rome  Basilica of Maxentius


Relevance Starts Here: A Path Towards Student Loan Exemption

Brent Castro, recent graduate of the UT, Knoxville, School of Architecture, is the National Vice President Elect of the American Institute of Architecture Students

By Brent Castro -- Throughout my years as an active member of the American Institute of Architecture Students, I have been truly humbled to be surrounded by hundreds of my peers within the academy who are doing more for their education by being a part of the AIAS than just focusing on the studio process. As collective group, we are allowing the AIAS to become a part of our learning processes. 

I am proud to say that the AIAS is not just resume filler for our members. Instead we are using it as a catalyst for growth as designers and stewards of the built environment. By being strong leaders we communicate a vision of diligent service to causes outside ourselves. Such leadership, if practiced correctly will positively affect our culture and the communities that we will live and work within.

I don’t doubt that a few of us initially dreamt of becoming world renowned architects. However, over time my personal definition of renowned has changed. There is a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stating, "Not everybody can be famous. But everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service." The imperative actor service is why this organization stands and it is why we are here. The AIAS will always be here to serve this student population by acting as a strong voice for members as they in turn are voices speaking out on behalf of their student bodies and communities.


The organizations commitment to introspection has allowed us to continually check the actions that we take–making sure that they serve this student population to the fullest. The AIAS is not accustomed to stagnation. We move, we change, we improve and these actions are imperative. The architects and scholars we idolize would not have us simply continue accepting the norm in regards to our work. They would have us question our moves and further those arguments. The same principle applies to our organization.


I am well informed about the great challenges that our profession faces domestically and across the world, therefore I feel strongly this is a pivotal time for furthering our objectives and taking intelligent, well informed steps forward with Freedom by Design, civic engagement, advocacy and greater involvement with the profession and

our own education. We must remain a strong and relevant resource for our members as students and emerging professionals. These objectives are essential for the AIAS to become more relevant as a national

organization in addition to fostering and sustaining connections within the global design community.


What does relevance mean for architecture students? We live in a world of economic angst, social inequality, and joblessness, all overshadowed by the threat of ecological demise. Our politicians find difficulty in reaching consensus while our dependency on oil remains headstrong and all the while graduates struggle to begin careers. We are all but immune to recurring words like “recession” and “disaster”. In this context our creative and analytical education and passion for the world we build for future generations make architecture students particularly relevant.


Relevance comes naturally to members of the AIAS: we are leaders within our schools, examples in our communities and voices in a global level that can -- and have -- made difference. - Nick Mancusi and Laura Meador- CritBorderless 


These differences can be seen through thecharge to mandate paid internships for students and through the continued support of the AIAS’s initiated studio culture movement where living documents outline the path towards a successful studio environment between students and their educators.


As we all know, students are faced with ever-increasing tuition rates for our education and because of this a major priority of the American Institute of Architecture Students this year has been the pursuit of Student Loan Forgiveness and rallying the support of our endeavor to expand our advocacy efforts. We have reached out to our collateral partners [AIA, ACSA, NCARB and NAAB] and have asked for their support with much success. The federal loan exemptions/deferment already exists for graduates of law, medicine and education and it is a great injustice towards our profession and to our graduating students that this option is not available to those of whom want to join the military, work for anon-profit or practice in a pro-bono manner.


Federal student loan forgiveness is an obvious answer to many of the challenges our profession and economic future faces. AIA President Jeffrey Potter, FAIA, is onboard to help advocate within the national government and commended these efforts and foresight.


As you all know, The AIAS represents the collective voice of architecture students. AIAS members have expressed a desire to use their voice to make a difference, and to be more relevant. In response, the AIAS Board of Directors has initiated an Advocacy taskforce. Our pursuit of the Federal Student Loan Forgiveness is a multiple-year process that requires assistance from all students of architecture.


To make a solid case to US legislators, the AIAS needs qualitative and quantitative data. The AIAS will produce a video that shows the importance of Architects to society.



We need your help! Please submit a short1-2 minute video of yourself answering the following three questions:

§  What is an Architect?

§  Why do Architects matter?

§  Describe a world without Architects. 

Please upload your video here: www.aias.org/videoupload. Please include a cover sheet with your name, chapter name, and year in school.


This is your chance to use your voice and be more relevant as an architecture student. Use this opportunity to help us shape a better future for you. Together, we can show this country our passion for architecture and service to those affected by the built environment. To move forward we have to be able give back. If we continue to be critical of the norm while never staying stagnant in our efforts we will see success.


Originally printed in stud. magazine, vol. II, ed. III. May 2012. A publication of the AIAS Chapter of the UT, Knoxville, College of Architecture and Design.