Architecture Students Present Designs – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Architecture Students Present Designs

The vision for a new boathouse complex for the Seneca Sailing Academy’s expanding youth program is one step closer to reality thanks to the efforts of HWS students enrolled in ARCS 400, “Advanced Design Studio.”

Throughout the spring semester, nine students developed schematic designs for the proposed Junior Sailing Academy facility that would be located on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake near the Seneca Yacht Club. After months of hard work, the students unveiled two group models, as well as individual schematic drawings to representatives from the Junior Sailing Academy advisory board during a final presentation at Houghton House on May 1.

“This course gives students the opportunity to work at an advanced level,” says Assistant Professor of Architectural Studies Jeffrey Blankenship, who teaches ARCS 400. “They are able to develop important skills throughout the semester, taking it to the next level with a real project. They’ve also been able to interact with an outside advisory board and get feedback on their work.”

Formed in 2012 as a nonprofit dedicated to providing community members with seamanship skills, the Seneca Sailing Academy is hosted by the Seneca Yacht Club. The Seneca Yacht Club has been offering sailing classes for decade and is open to both club members and non-members alike. Now, Seneca Sailing Academy will continue the tradition of helping the community enjoy the lake.

At the final presentation, the group projects illuminated a fusion of ideas and concepts derived from individual projects and earlier feedback from the advisory board, Blankenship says. In addition, new designs were also brought in as the projects evolved since the mid-term, he says. Overall, the course gave students experience not often available at the undergraduate level.

The students involved in the project are: Jennifer Galezo ’14, Scott Greenbaum ’14, Kelly Haley ’15, Libby Hughes ’14, Andrew King ’14, Joellen Mauch ’15, Andrew Thompson ’14, Emily Vollo ’14 and Lincoln Young ’14.

Along the way, the student group received feedback from Associate Professor of Art and Architecture Stan Mathews and Assistant Professor of Architectural Studies Gabriella D’Angelo, who each served as classroom consultants.

“This is a fine example of the cooperation that takes place between the Colleges and the community,” says Thomas Toher ’68, commodore of the Seneca Yacht Club and advisory board member.

Toher, who attended the final presentation, says a committee will be formed that will take the proposal to its next phase. Seneca Yacht Club members and Seneca Sailing Academy supporters will then be able to review the various designs and models. 

Plans for the complex include boat storage, an indoor activity space and a central area that connects through paths and docks to the water’s edge. During the final presentation, ARCS 400 students not only addressed those points, but also included conversation about the best ways to leverage the physical and visual connection to the lake, building materials, and sustainable design concepts.

Hughes, an architectural studies major with a minor in studio art, says conducting on-site visits, working with an advisory board, and getting critical feedback from faculty and peers was a vital part of the process of understanding how to create the most desirable and functional designs possible. She says the experience as a whole was critical for preparing her for professional pursuits after graduation.

“This experience has been amazing from beginning to end,” says Hughes, who has been involved with sailing for most of her life and is a certified sailing instructor. “There has been so much we’ve learned this semester and I feel much more prepared about what to expect in the real world.”