During my 2016 sabbatical at the Glick Center for Glass, I met Jennifer Halvorson, an associate professor of art at Ball State. While working with glass we discovered many shared interests and overlaps between both architecture and fine art disciplines. We had discussed the opportunity of collaborating on a blended course and drafted an outline to apply for an immersive learning grant through the Office of Immersive Learning at Ball State. We were awarded a grant and looked forward to our exploration in the technological advance of glass with our students.
When the world changed with COVID in our midst, the class almost did not happen, but thankfully the university found a way to keep everyone safe and still allowed it to happen in person.
We divided the class into three separate projects, each project building on the last. The first project asked the students to engage in material research without a problem to solve. They were free to explore the medium and discover potential starting points. They were tasked to develop a diverse set of techniques working with glass such as casting, blowing, and slumping with a resulting library of shared experiments.
“There are things the architect students know that the glass students might not know and visa versa so we really learn about what each discipline can do, what they know, and what they can express on to other students who are in the different majors. I think that creates a really rewarding experience as far as collaboration and getting a project done.”
–Ian Quarterman ’21, architecture
The second project was the design of a functional object that was influenced by the restrictions of the pandemic. At this point, students incorporated 3d printed mold making material, CNC and waterjet cutting from the CAP design build lab. This was the part of the semester where there was true interdisciplinary work. Architecture students brought ideas of advanced fabrication and digital tools combined with the fine arts students’ mastery of glass work.
The final project was the design for a potential donor wall for the Minnetrista Center in Muncie, IN. Students presented their design work to the clients and received excellent feedback. Additionally, during the course, students were exposed to leaders in the glass industry, insights from award winning public artists, and cutting edge technology that is transforming the potential for working with glass at an architectural scale.
In the future, I sincerely hope we can find more overlaps between CAP and the Glick Center for Glass.
By Joshua Coggeshall
Associate Professor of Architecture