Archive for Wednesday, January 19, 2000

Architecture student draws on knowledge

January 19, 2000

When Evan Shaw was about 7 years old, one of his favorite pastimes was working on his Lego castle.

Today, Shaw, a senior architecture student at Kansas State University, said his experience with Legos probably helped him prepare for his career.

"You learn how to take things and put them together," he said.

Last Friday afternoon, Shaw, the son of Bill and Brenda Shaw, both teachers in Tonganoxie, talked to some students in Chris Weller's and Steve Hughes' junior high and high school classes.

Shaw showed the students models he has made of buildings and computerized architectural drawings that he has made in school. He told the students what steps would help to prepare for a career in architecture and what to expect from a career in the field.

Shaw said it was Larry Percy, then an art teacher at Tonganoxie Junior High, who first suggested he might be a good fit for a career in architecture.

"For his class, we had to draw our houses in perspective, doing three-dimensional-type drawings," Shaw said. "I guess he thought mine was more professionally done or more calculated than most."

A 1996 graduate of Tonganoxie High School, Shaw, 22, is particularly looking forward to this semester.

He and about 30 other Kansas State architecture students, and two professors, Matt Knox and Stephanie Rolley, will head to Italy next Wednesday to spend four months near Florence.

While staying at a study center with students from Texas A&M and Colorado State University, the students will participate in regular classroom work, as well as make weekly trip to Renaissance and medieval architectural sites.

"We'll study the buildings and figure out the historical significance they have, as well as their significance to the people who live there now, and we'll look at what their impact has been on design in the United States," Shaw said.

Modern innovations have changed the way buildings are built, Shaw said.

"The old Roman walls may have been two feet thick," Shaw said. "Now we can build a wall six inches thick but out of different materials and it insulates the building a hundred times better."

Advances in computer technology also are changing the way buildings are planned, Shaw said.

"Initially, it was just that the computer did construction drawings," Shaw said.

"But now it's going into three-dimensional graphics where we can build the buildings on the computer, and then go inside and look around."

Shaw said he hopes to pursue his career in architecture in Chicago.

"That's where the most premier firms in the country are," he said.

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