Iowa City Press-Citizen: City High Class Builds on Architecture, Engineering

By Holly Hines
Iowa City Press-Citizen

Rasmus Schlutter says he is interested in space — how architects organize it and how different designs affect people socially.

Schlutter, 16, a junior at City High, said architectural philosophy piques his curiosity, and that the Project Lead the Way Civil Engineering and Architecture class at City is a gateway for him into the field of architecture.

"What better way to equip myself with skills. ... this class is going to serve as a basis for branching out into more academic interests in architecture," he said.

Schlutter and other students in Vicky Pedersen's Engineering and Architecture class learn about architectural styles and design principles. The students received a visit Wednesday from a panel of civil and environmental engineering experts.

Panelists were Allen Bradley, a UI Civil and Environmental Engineering faculty member, Nick Bettis of HBK Engineering, retired Iowa City Public Works Director Rick Fosse, Iowa City Architectural Services Coordinator Kumi Morris and Michelle Scherer, Chairwoman of the UI Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.

Scherer told students that jobs in civil and environmental engineering offer variety on a daily basis, and that jobs in this field are becoming more abundant nationally.

"You will wake up everyday and you will do different things," she said.

The panel also talked on ways students can prepare for architecture and engineering careers, what to expect on the job day-to-day, and ways engineers interact with their clients.Buy Photo

Sophomores Jared Parr and Mairead Moore and junior Emma Myers-Verhage said the panelists' visit allowed them to ask questions and get a better feel for careers in architecture.

"It's easy to put yourself in that situation and see yourself doing this," Moore said.

Pedersen said the panel addressed various careers within the overall fields of architecture and engineering that may interest students, and that she thought the discussion went well.

"They were asking good questions. They were all engaged and listening," she said.

Pedersen said students also received a visit from an architect who designed a building addition underway at City. She said the class called on students to study architectural styles of their choice and built scale models of buildings in those styles.

Myers-Verhage said she worked hard trying to perfect her scale model. She said the process was difficult, but it helped her learn about how structures work.

Schlutter said the scale-model project allowed him to imagine being an architect and working on problems as they arise.

"I feel you really get to know the style. You get to know your building well," he said.