‘Beauty in a Box’ Took Lid Off L.A. for WSU Students

PULLMAN, Wash. — If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Washington State University’s architecture students have 20/20 vision.
Thirteen fifth-year architecture students in Greg Kessler’s studio class recently produced a quality compilation of their ideas of “Beautiful Places” and put them inside hand-crafted hardboard boxes for sale at $18 each. Each numbered box contains 39 “plates” of such places as the Sydney Opera House, Westminster Cathedral, Stonehenge and the Vietnam Memorial.
“This was an exercise to examine why we think things are beautiful,” said Janna Peters, WSU senior in the School of Architecture. “After we made the drawings, we wrote an essay about each place, including its history, description of the structure, and why we think it’s beautiful.”
Proceeds from the sale of the “Beautiful Places” boxes helped defray costs for some of 74 WSU architecture students to attend a Los Angeles learning expedition Oct. 21-25.
The Southern California tour “unboxed” the rich and diverse architectural beauty of the metropolis, said the students. They were introduced to such renowned architecture as the Getty Museum, the Scripps Neuroscience Institute, the Salk Institute and the Library at San Juan Capistrano. Students also saw the Arts Center College of Design, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Frank Gehry buildings, the Gamble House (Craftsman house, polished teak and Tiffany glass), the Eames House (techno, steel and glass), the Kappe House and much more.
At the suggestion of the National Architecture Accreditation Board, WSU architecture students expand their horizons and visit different works of architecture each year to increase their understanding of different styles.
“Class and studio provide an isolated view about buildings,” she said. “If you don’t experience a place in person, though, you simply can’t get the emotions of great works of architecture. As students, we need these opportunities.”
Many WSU architecture students have studied abroad in such countries as England, Denmark and Russia, through the School’s international program. In January, six architecture students will study in Denmark. In future semesters, professors Kessler, Paul Hirzel, John Abell, Doug Menzies and Deborah Ascher Barnstone — who guided this year’s field trip — plan architecture tours in Boston, Chicago, New York and San Francisco.
To purchase a copy of “Beautiful Places,” contact Kessler at 509/335-2668.