February 04, 2008

Architecture students' creations to be on display

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The capstone of an architectural masterpiece more than 50 years in the making could soon be in place at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Representatives of the National Architectural Accreditation Board are on campus evaluating the University's architecture program, including the master of architecture program created last summer as an extension of the successful baccalaureate program within the SIUC College of Applied Sciences and Arts. They're reviewing the coursework and various levels of the program, looking at student projects and determining if the program satisfies 34 student-performance criteria necessary for the crucial certification, said Jack A. Kremers, professor and interim director of the architecture program at SIUC.

"We're very confident our program meets the highest standards," Kremers said. "The students' work shows we're achieving the criteria."

Gathering the extensive collection that demonstrates the SIUC students' architectural talent has created a special opportunity for the University community and the region too, Kremers said. Viewers can enjoy a public display featuring architectural projects of all kinds, from first-year works to the most complex master's program handiworks, in Room 304 at SIUC's Quigley Hall Wednesday, Feb. 6, from 5 to 8 p.m., Feb. 7 -8 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and from 9 a.m. until noon on Feb. 9.

"It's a one-time opportunity to see everything this program has come to be," Kremers said. "It shows what our students accomplish in four years of undergraduate work and a year and a half of master's program work. We finally have a chance to pull it all together and show everyone what this program has to offer."

After the group reviews the work on the basis of an extensive matrix, it will make a recommendation to the NAAB board on candidacy status for the SIUC program. Kremers anticipates the NAAB will vote on the recommendation in July. Completion of an NAAB- accredited program is required in order to take the state board tests to become a licensed architect.

Architectural studies at SIUC dates to 1954 when the University first offered an associate of applied science degree in architectural technology. When the state began requiring a bachelor's degree as a minimum educational level for licensing, SIUC stepped up with a bachelor's degree in advanced technical careers in the late 1970s.

Illinois later bumped standards once again, requiring a pre-professional degree or its equivalent in the 1980s, but SIUC students could still take the licensing exam after obtaining sufficient years of experience. By the mid-1990s, the University dropped the associate degree program and offered instead a bachelor's degree in architectural studies. Now, the goal is accreditation for the SIUC architecture program so students can complete all elements of their education at the Carbondale campus and test to be fully licensed Illinois architects, Kremers said.

For more information about the SIUC architecture school or its master's degree program, contact Kremers at 618/453-3734.