Alumnae News

An Insight Into Architecture

Engineering Design Innovation students are learning architectural logistics firsthand through a class project by creating a mock design for the new East Campus Building Courtyard.

To gain insight into how architecture works and what is involved, students recently had the opportunity to tour the construction site.

What made the tour even more special? Getting the inside scoop from one of Ursuline’s own and an architect on the project, Rachel Westmoreland Chapman ’10. A Project Architect with Glenn | Partners, her passion for architecture was born her senior year of high school when Ursuline held a two-week career shadowing program for different industries.

After exploring architecture and knowing it was the career path she wanted to pursue, she proceeded to attend Texas A&M University for her undergraduate degree and Tulane for her masters. She attributes her work ethic and preparation for college to her Ursuline education.

“Ursuline gave me the tools and opportunities to explore art and architecture in studio art, geometry, math, and computer science,” she said. “My teachers at Ursuline always encouraged creativity and helped me discover my ultimate career path.”

Showing students around the site, she explained various parts of the process, what different materials were being used, and how it all worked together. Rachel sees the new building shaping the future of learning at Ursuline through the spaces dedicated to creating new and exciting curriculum for students to explore.

For their courtyard design projects, students are required to complement the new building in terms of materials and egress, include at least one enclosed structure, have a mix of “hardscape” and “softscape,” and meet the needs of all members of our community. 

Taylor Komlosi ’21, was better able to understand the scale of the project, gain insight into the architecture process, and learn how architects envision what a space is going to look like when they are designing it.

“Having the chance to learn about different engineering fields and getting the chance to talk to an architect allowed us to see how they use the design process and problem solving (things we learn in engineering class) every day,” she said.

Cali Brewer ’21 enjoyed the tour and felt it informative to get a first-hand view of the space that their class project is based on.

“I learned that the courtyard will not be completely flat,” she said. “So, I need to think of other designs for my courtyard that will cater to that leveling.”

She was also in awe during the tour saying, “I had never been inside a construction site before, so just being able to see it all was amazing to me.”

Taylor and Cali are excited for future Ursuline students to utilize the new spaces.

“Every part of the building is being designed to help Ursuline girls succeed and that can be seen through the collaborative spaces, the open courtyard, and the theatre,” said Taylor.

Cali agreed. “I think having rooms dedicated to a certain subject will help the students excel in that subject because immersion is the best type of learning,” she said.

“This is such an exciting time for UA to expand and build on an incredible educational foundation that is already in place,” Rachel said. “I feel honored and excited to show Ursuline faculty and students how much they have attributed to my career by helping to shape this new building. And it’s gratifying to know that future students will have the opportunity to learn in these dynamic new spaces!”

Student projects will be designed and presented using Google SketchUp Pro. They will also utilize the 6Ds of Solution Fluency as their guide and present their projects after Spring Break.