New York architects to visit KSU

Jackie Mantey

Building walls out of Styrofoam cups is nothing new for the architects at Lewis, Tsurumaki and Lewis. The architectural firm’s use of unique materials is not going unnoticed at Kent State.

Architects from LTL will be traveling to Taylor Hall tomorrow, where they will speak with Material Methods classes, an architecture course where students learn about building with different mediums, and begin a semester-long evaluation of graduate students’ designs in the Gym Annex.

“They could really work with students on how to work with a limited amount of money and materials,” said John Kim, an assistant professor of architecture who is helping with the program. “They are good at using conventional things in unconventional ways.”

The benefit of working with a professional firm could be huge for the students involved, Kim said.

“It is important because the process will involve talking with professionals and trying to critically look at what architecture is,” he said.

LTL, located in New York City, will be working with Kent State this semester under a new graduate program in which students are evaluated and critiqued by the company’s architects.

Fifth-year students in the studio classes have been creating designs that they will present tomorrow and once a week throughout the semester to the LTL architects, Kim said.

The new program will advise the students on their designs, the concept behind the designs and the ideas they presented. In tomorrow’s evaluation, the students will display pinup versions of their designs and the evaluations will get increasingly harder.

“The final review is still a pinup evaluation, but it will be more formal,” Kim said.

The LTL program is a development of the university’s 2003 decision to change the School of Architecture into the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, resulting in a larger effort to bring outside professionals into the classrooms. The college could finally implement the changes they wanted to make this semester, Kim said.

“The school was strapped for cash and funding, and we are finally making headway in enhancing the classrooms by allowing the students to not just work with professors but deal with clients,” Kim said. “It brings a different level of interpretation of architecture.”

Some students are looking forward to the changes.

Jeremy Smith, senior architecture major and president of the university’s chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students, said he is excited about the changes the college is experiencing.

“It’s really hands on,” Smith said.

Along with the chance to work side-by-side with professionals, Kim said there is something else the students can look forward to.

“The architects of the firm are young,” he said. “They have a lot of energy.”

According to LTL’s Web site, the company has worked with architecture programs of Columbia, Yale and Miami of Ohio.

The Kent State college hopes the energy and the critiques from the pros will help the students get prepared for the professional world of architecture.

For more information about LTL, visit its Web site at

Contact College of Architecture and Environmental Design and School of Art reporter Jackie Mantey at [email protected].