Fay Jones School Hosts Environmental Designer Ian Rolston for Diversity and Design Workshop
Ian Rolston led a Together in Diversity and Design workshop with 56 interior architecture and design students Design on March 1 in Vol Walker Hall.
For the third semester in a row, the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design hosted a Together in Diversity and Design workshop for design students.
Ian Rolston led the workshop on March 1 in Vol Walker Hall after giving a lecture Feb. 27 as part of the school's spring lecture series. Rolston's practice, Decanthropy, is a renowned Canadian environmental design practice that focuses on equity as central to its design ethos.
The workshop was organized by Gabriel Díaz Montemayor, ASLA, assistant dean for diversity, equity and inclusion and associate professor of landscape architecture. The workshop is focused on learning and discussion of issues and opportunities in diversity, equity and inclusion as these relate to the disciplines of the design of the built environment.
In this workshop, called "Design Challenge: Making Space," Rolston asked students to explore equity, empathy and compassion through a design reflection of one of their daily spaces, their studios within Vol Walker Hall.
Through his public lecture earlier that week, Rolston introduced Decanthropy's design ethos, including the ways in which equity is structurally linked to all aspects related to human diversity. His lecture set the tone for the approach of the very quick but impactful two-hour workshop, Díaz Montemayor said.
During the workshop, Rolston first asked the students to reflect on their own experiences as studio users, as well as the experiences of their peers. Working in teams, discussing their diverse impressions and through a collaborative approach, students synthesized their design objectives and then proceeded to explore their design concepts through iterative drawing and continued conversation. Students shared their proposals with the full group at the end of the workshop.
"Throughout his engagement with our students, Ian demonstrated that equity, empathy and compassion are not just the purpose of his practice, but also the way he teaches, learns and collaborates with others," Díaz Montemayor said. "I think the students got that lesson as well."
This was the first Together in Diversity and Design lecture and workshop oriented toward interior architecture and design, Díaz Montemayor said. Previous guests focused on the areas of landscape architecture, historic preservation, urban design and architecture. Past Together in Diversity and Design workshops were held with Paola Aguirre and Dennis Milam of Borderless Studio in fall 2022 and with Marc Miller and Tara Dudley in spring 2022.
"In this regard, Rolston's lecture and workshop closes the first loop in the representation of all disciplines of the school in the Together in Diversity and Design format, supporting the DEI mission of the school," he said.
There were 56 interior architecture and design students attending and working together in Rolston's workshop. All were third year students from several studio sections coordinated by Jennifer Webb, assistant dean for graduate programs and an associate professor of interior architecture and design.
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