Architecture students win prestigious award

Kelsey Henninger

The Historic American Buildings Survey awarded 18 architecture students with the Charles E. Peterson Prize last night.

The Peterson Prize is intended to increase appreciation of historic buildings in the United States.

“Their project is going to the Library of Congress for permanent documentation,” architecture professor Elizabeth Murphy said.

Murphy’s spring 2007 Exploring Historic Structures class measured and documented The W. Arms House, home to the Arms museum, in Youngstown.

“I was excited about the award, but I didn’t realize how big the impact was,” said Mindy Kalac, architecture graduate student.

The project was completed in two semesters. Kalac and five other students completed the project from beginning to end. The second semester students picked up where the first left off.

“They did a lot of sketching and the first measurements,” Daniel Judy, a 2007 Kent State graduate, said. “We took more measurements and researched the History of Youngstown.”

The students did everything freehand. They sketched everything before putting it onto the computer, Murphy said. Students crawled all over the building to document every inch.

“Nothing is duplicated. It’s all as is,” Kent State 2007 graduate Alexender Motsov said.

The walls aren’t perfectly square because of warping and that is how it’s documented, Motsov said.

“There are 5,000 measured sheets (blueprints) from students in the Library of Congress,” Mark Schara, HABS architect, said. “The entries bring a lot of stuff into the collection that might not come in otherwise.”

Most of the buildings have been demolished, so they are being preserved permanently on paper, Schara said.

“We’re honored our museum is the first building in Mahoning County to be surveyed by HABS,” said H. William Lawson, executive director of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society.

The project brought together research and archives, which makes it easier to tell the story of the building, Lawson said.

This semester Murphy’s class is documenting Finlay Academy, an Akron Public school. Demolition will occur before documentation is completed.

Kent State won five of the last seven Peterson Prize awards.

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