2 places to call home

Kelsey Henninger

First-year architecture majors often spend long nights in Taylor Hall completing final projects

When most of the lights are turning off in the dorms and students are closing their books and going to bed, rambunctious architecture majors step outside Taylor Hall for a smoke break.

It’s 1 a.m. Wednesday morning, and the students on the fourth floor of Taylor Hall are as lively as children at recess.

Laughter and music can be heard from the first-year studio section, as students crack jokes with one another.

Most freshman students estimated they spend 25 to 30 hours a week on out-of-class studio work compared to non-architect majors, who estimated they spend 10 hours or less on out-of-class work a week. Students also agreed they spend their nights in Taylor Hall because it fits best into their schedules.

“This is when I have the most time,” said Bryce Shirley, freshman architecture major. “I’m not missing out on anything, and the sun is not in your eyes,” Shirley said with a smirk while tracing a structure.

During a final project, students say they can easily double their time in Taylor, but they try to leave time for food, a shower and an occasional nap.

“I have two places to call home,” said Troy Elkey, freshman architecture major. “My dorm and here (Taylor Hall).”

Elkey said he and his friends mess around a lot while working as he eagerly sets down his instruments to talk.

“I have an hour of work left and about three hours of goofing off,” Elkey said.

Although distractions seem prominent, Robert Zoelle said he focuses best at night.

“I can’t work during the day,” the freshman architecture major said as he continued to move the ruler around the paper. “I get nothing done until it’s dark out.”

The longest Zoelle has stayed in Taylor at one time, only leaving for an occasional food break, was 21 hours.

In his first semester, Zoelle spent eight to 10 hours a week in studio. He had already been in the studio for 30 hours since Thursday and stayed until 10 a.m. Wednesday — about 50 hours in six days.

Benjamin Knop, freshman architecture major, agreed with Zoelle’s time estimation and said he had been in Taylor Hall for 40 hours over the last four days. He averages about five hours of sleep a night.

Knop started working in Taylor at 2 p.m. Tuesday and planned to stay until Wednesday’s class at 10 a.m.

Knop said no other major comes close to putting in this much of out-of-class work into projects.

Time management seems to be a common stressor for architecture majors.

“The thought of doing [studio work] is daunting and I want to put it off as long as I can,” said James Steckler, freshman architecture major.

“I try to work a little each day,” Steckler said. “Then I realize … I need to get it all done.”

Steckler says he started work on his project Saturday and continued working through the weekend, but by the time Tuesday rolled around he was still working.

“I budget every hour of my time by accident,” Steckler said. “I have to choose which test to study for and when to work on studio, plus I try to get sleep and eat.”

Some architecture students said they have trouble juggling their course load.

“It’s easier to ignore your other stuff,” said freshman architecture major Jose Rivera. “My hardest thing is focusing on my other classes. I focus way too much on studio. I haven’t found the balance yet.”

Rivera said his slogan has become, “No, I can’t, I have studio.”

Rivera has a toothbrush and toothpaste in his desk and thinks other majors are just less demanding not necessarily easier or harder.

Rivera wouldn’t say he is a procrastinator, but he prefers to work at a slower pace.

“I do a lot of crazy stuff, and I’m a perfectionist, so it takes longer,” Rivera said referring to his creative and artsy design.

Taylor Alston agrees with Rivera, saying she is not a procrastinator but works slowly because the models are intricate.

“I may be putting things off for other classes just because I run out of time,” Alston said, loosing her train of thought and blaming it on the time.

Architecture majors said they lose track of time because the hours run together when they stay up all night.

“I’ve noticed people say they pull all-nighters, but really they sleep for about two or three hours,” Rivera said.

At 9 a.m. Wednesday, an hour before class, Elkey, Zoelle, Knop and Steckler were holding tools, finishing models and wearing the same clothes as the night before. They won’t leave Taylor Hall until after their class ends at noon.

Contact College of Architecture and Interior Design reporter Kelsey Henninger at [email protected].