Master of Architecture student Cameron Osborne recently received one of Texas Society of Architects’ 2022 Studio Awards. One of only seven projects selected, Osborne’s submission— “School with Porches and Portals,” completed in Associate Professor Kory Bieg’s Spring 2022 Vertical Studio “Joint Disjunction”—was the only student project selected for the prestigious award.
Specifically designed for graduate students pursuing a first professional degree in architecture, Vertical Studios combine students of differing degrees of design and drawing experience. Problems are set to maximize opportunities for learning, skill acquisition, and the dissemination of ideas at all levels, from beginning to intermediate, allowing students to progress at their own rate. For Bieg’s Vertical Studio, in particular, students looked at the role of integrated and standalone design elements within a modular building type.
Osborne joined the School of Architecture in Fall 2021 as a non-background architecture student, meaning he did not get his undergraduate degree in architecture or a related design discipline. We recently caught up with him to learn a little more about his transition to architecture school as a non-background student. Below the distilled interview is a description of Cameron’s award-winning project. Congratulations Cameron!
Tell us a bit about your professional background and what you were up to before coming to the UT School of Architecture.
Before coming to the UT School of Architecture, I was working as a cook at the Austin restaurant Olamaie. I also taught freshman English at St. Andrew’s Upper School and reading at Zavala Elementary School.
What led to your interest in pursuing architecture as a career path?
I have tried a lot of things and wanted to commit to a profession that would allow me to keep learning, be involved with other people’s lives, and use my imagination. There was also the attraction of getting to color at work.
As a non-background student, what has the transition to architecture school been like for you? What advice would you have for other students who might be interested in architecture but don’t have an architecture or design background?
I had no idea what to expect from architecture school. I was hoping to make new friends and to have an immersive experience, both of which have happened.
I have particularly found I enjoy learning about visual communication and hope to keep learning more and more. I was taking figure drawing classes before I started at UT and would encourage anyone interested in going to architecture school to start drawing one way or another. No matter what one is interested in about buildings, it all gets communicated visually.
School with Porches and Portals:
At this school for children aged 5-12, everything is connected with decking to encourage the use of covered outdoor space between classrooms. Pairs of classrooms share a screened porch and covered breezeway and connect with their neighboring pairs through another breezeway hosting stairs. Working or playing on decks that extend like docks into the grass, a student can feel both remote from as well as connected to their classroom. Layered, extended thresholds, as well as generous fenestration under wide roofs, produce a simultaneous sense of shelter and expansiveness. The building extends itself into its surroundings, reaching out to invite entry and offer containment without threatening to hold too tightly. It is very important that children feel neither over-contained nor under-contained as they explore the unfamiliar world beyond their homes.