The featured image shows students Jacob Chavez and Abbie Bates become acquainted with the building plans available in the Columbus Indiana Architectural Archives.

An immersive learning project at Ball State, led by Assistant Professor of Architecture, Kristin Barry, is providing architecture students the time to make

Students Carrie Vachon and Craig Adams in the Columbus Area Visitors Center admire the Chihuly glass installation.

Students Carrie Vachon and Craig Adams in the Columbus Area Visitors Center admire the Chihuly glass installation.

an in-depth examination of the history of buildings and turn it into an opportunity to educate the public-at-large about the built environment.

The project will focus on the city of Columbus, Indiana–a town known in the state for its unique architecture. Full of rich history and detailed drawings, the Columbus Indiana Architectural Archives stores records, with some dating back to 1900, and this is where the project’s research begins.

Barry feels this research is essential for future architects to do, “a lot of the buildings they will be working on as architects are going to be existing buildings.” She feels learning how to research, how to find original drawings, and how to interpret those drawings for later use is an invaluable tool for her students to carry into their future profession. With proper research, architects can use this valuable information to better integrate the old and new with thoughtful, well-purposed designs for future generations.

Currently, Barry’s students are compiling research for an exhibit, which will be open to the public on May 9, 2020. Students are sifting through blueprints, sorting content, and developing a communications strategy to best educate the public about the city’s buildings and the common vocabulary used among architects. As one student explained, while most people pass buildings without a second thought to their appearance, architecture students actually “see” the buildings. They notice the subtle details found in the building’s facade, the materials and construction techniques used, and its form and function within the greater community. This vision–their passion for the built environment–is what the students want to share with the general public.

Check the Columbus Visitors Center for their open hours throughout the summer.

The project plan will continue with the development of an augmented reality mobile application using their compiled research and the content from the exhibit. This development will sustain the vision to share the beauty and importance of architecture and its cultural impact on the communities with an unlimited audience.

Course: ARCH 400/695