orideas to happen by marie weeren
“You have to have a sense of what’s involved in making buildings, landscapes, or machines, to be able to decide how to improve them and to innovate.”
back to the university what it had given him. When asked in an earlier interview what he would think of the gift, Mrs. Lindsay replied: “John was a very humble man. He wouldn’t do it for the recognition. He would do it because it came from his heart.” The IDEA building will give students an opportunity to take greater ownership of their own learning by giving them access to the facilities and space they require to apply their design skills. “For us, design means problem-solving, it means building things – starting from the earliest stages of the concept through to something which actually is constructed,” Dr. Leon says. “The new building will allow us to have students see more of that process and be more involved in that process themselves.” Dean of Architecture and Planning, Christine Macy, endorses the importance of hands-on experience. “Just like composers have to really understand how to play an instrument to be able to compose for it, in architecture and engineering and even planning it’s much the same way,” she says. “You have to have a sense of what’s involved in making buildings, landscapes, or machines, to be able to decide how to improve them and to innovate.”
Shared work and social spaces also foster learning between the disciplines. “Some engineers and architects will work together in their working lives,” Dr. Leon says. “So we can introduce them to each other here, and introduce students to the notion that not everybody thinks exactly the way that they do about how to do something and that there are many different ways to solve a problem.” The value of shared perspectives transcends the IDEA building. Prof. Macy says, “This is a model of where the university is heading in the future – to say,‘Okay, we need specialization to have expertise, but, boy, we also need a way to be able to work together, to be able to collaborate from our areas of expertise and to have students recognize the value of that collaboration at multiple points throughout their education.’ ” For architecture student Phil Wilson, the school’s studio approach and his undergraduate work term experience gave him an appreciation for collaboration. “A lot of times there’s collaboration that happens in the workplace between not only architects but different consultants who come in and people from all different realms,” he says. “Days when we had those meetings, those were the most informative days when you learned the most.” Learning in the IDEA Building won’t be limited to those working within its walls. The intent is that the public will be more involved, through potential projects linked with the community, public lectures and exhibits of students’ work. “Because both engineering and architecture and planning are all basically making things – the ideas happen through making – people will be able to actually see those things,” Prof. Macy says. “So it makes intellectual inquiry very tangible and it’s great to have an opportunity to be able to share that with the broader public.”
The Spring 2011 edition of Dalhousie Magazine.