JIm Schmidt and Antoinette Lettiere

From Cairo to Canada -- Jim Schmidt, left, and Antoinette “Toni” Lettiere, both recent graduates of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s architecture program, will offer insights into restoring and preserving historic buildings during an 11-day workshop next month at Cape Breton University in Canada. Schmidt and Lettiere are shown rebuilding the beam and joist system to support the corner of the front porch of the 1900s era “Shotgun-style” home in Cairo in June 2009. (Photo by Russell Bailey) Download Photo Here

July 28, 2011

Workshop features architecture faculty, alumni

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Faculty members from Southern Illinois University Carbondale's School of Architecture, along with two recent graduates, will go to Canada next month to discuss their Southern Illinois historic preservation projects.

The two-week workshop at Cape Breton University in Sydney, Nova Scotia, focuses on preserving small cottages and duplexes in nearby Glace Bay, a once-thriving mining community now incorporated into the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

Robert Swenson, an associate professor, and Jon D. Davey, a professor and distinguished faculty member, both in the School of Architecture, will participate in the 11-day workshop, Aug. 8-19. Cape Breton University received a Canadian government grant to hold the workshop, which will include presentations by Antoinette “Toni” Lettiere and Jim Schmidt, both recent SIUC architecture graduates who now are graduate architecture students at Portland State University.

In 2009, Lettiere and Schmidt, both then at SIUC, worked with other SIUC architecture and Southeast Missouri State University history students, community members and representatives of the Heritage Conservation Network in efforts to restore a 1900s era “Shotgun-style” house in Cairo. Lettiere and Schmidt also put together a 60- to 70-page book of their work, with a “how to” guide for restoring windows, foundations, footings and siding, Swenson said. This is what got the attention of Cape Breton University.

Lettiere and Schmidt “will run the workshop,” Swenson said. “They are young, excited and love demonstrating and explaining the technique they have learned and developed.”

Davey will present a workshop on his well-known and popular Kid Architecture camps, and Swenson will give presentations on projects that include the Kornthal Church in Jonesboro, and the Fountain Avenue project in Paducah.

Swenson and a group of 13 new Master of Architecture graduate students have been working for the past six weeks on designs for four different styles of historic houses in Paducah’s Fountain Avenue Historic District. The students have also been developing proposals for a highly sustainable two-square-block mixed-use residential, commercial, office, and educational project and will present their plans to the city’s planning department next week, Swenson said. Steve Ervin, director of the Paducah City Planning department and an SIUC graduate, has requested that the fall Urban Design and Community studio work on conceptual ideas for a river to parks bike route that will go through the Lower Town and Fountain Avenue historic districts, Swenson said.