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Seeing is Believing, Viewing Art and Architecture Firsthand

Fifty-five architecture and art students visited Yale last month for a firsthand look at work they have been studying throughout the year. Back on campus, they also had the opportunity to listen to a lecture by Gregg Pasquarelli P’25, founding principal of SHoP Architects, an innovative practice creating new models for design, master planning and real estate development.
Providing students with these types of rich experiences outside the classroom is an essential part of the learning process, said architecture teacher Rebeccah Tuscano-Moss.
“I can show pictures of a building from many angles and provide detailed drawings,” she said. “However, looking at mere images isn't the same awe-inspiring experience as standing with your back against the underside of the single concrete arch, spanning 75 feet in the air that holds the whale-shaped roof of Yale's Ingalls Arena designed by Eero Saarinen.
“The echo of voices in the vaulted space, the chill of the ice, the gritty feel of the concrete and the smell in the air of stale popcorn, aged wood and a hint of sweat, make it come alive,” she continued. “These out-of-the-classroom moments provide the multi-sensory learning experiences.”
Architecture student Kade Smith ’23 concurred: “In class, we look at and talk about extravagant pieces of architecture, but the only problem is that we can only see them online, so going to Yale in person was amazing. It allowed us, as students, to understand how architecture can change how you feel. Looking at facilities like the Ingalls Arena or Kroon Hall online does not do them justice.”
While touring Yale’s art galleries, students studied artwork within a historical context. Every art object is a product of materials, intentions, and outcomes that reflect a time and place and “the museum is set up beautifully for students to understand the evolution of art and how it changed and adapted throughout history,” said art teacher Kerry Kendall. “There is an excellent collection of work, ranging from elaborate African masks and jewelry, Asian prints and vessels, Italian Renaissance pieces, to impressionism and contemporary works.”
Students took black and white photographs of the architecture they viewed and wrote responses to three selected works from the Yale Art Galleries and Yale Collection of British Art, commenting on style, subject matter, historical context, and how each piece inspired them.
For Emma Mason ’23, viewing art objects up close and personal was eye-opening. “Seeing so many different time periods and styles expressed in the works was so helpful when we returned to our own work in the studio,” she said.
Architecture student Wills Erda ’23 enjoyed the deep dive into architecture, especially the lecture by Pasquareilli. “He did a wonderful job showing us what modern architecture is and the processes behind it,” Erda said.
Pasquarelli and his firm have garnered many awards and have designed complex and dynamic projects, including The Porter House, Barclays Center, the East River Waterfront Esplanade and Pier 17, the American Copper Buildings and the second-tallest tower in Manhattan, 111 West 57th Street.
In the classroom, “it can sometimes be hard to get a sense of how a career or job in architecture would work,” said Erda. “The lecture really illuminated for me what that is like and inspired my love of the subject. In class, we often work on smaller, different projects; the lecture really allowed me to see how all of that can fit together to create an impressive building or project.”

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