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Classroom And Site Integration: Utilizing Site Documentation And Classroom Assignments To Make Connections Between Theory And Practice

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.269.1 - 6.269.9

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James Fuller

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2306

Classroom and Site Integration: Utilizing Site Documentation and Classroom Assignments to Make Connections Between Theory and Practice

James E. Fuller, AIA University of Hartford


The late Italian master builder Luigi Nervi said “A good architect is someone capable of seeing the main problems of a design, capable of examining with serenity the various possible solutions, and who finally has a thorough grasp of the technical means necessary to accomplish his project.” Ernest L. Boyer and Lee D. Mitgang, in their report Building Community: A New Future for Architecture Education and Practice, stress that the education of the architect must be integrative and include the technical knowledge to which Nervi refers1.

A picture says a thousands words. A video provides, through moving images, an understanding of the process as well as words. Seeing the actual construction through site visits provides first hand experience and memory retention through seeing the actual process, hearing dialogue and providing opportunities to develop direct relationships between theory and practice. Relating construction theory and practice to students, especially during the early years, is a challenging task. Classroom materials, including site photographs and video, can help but not as effectively as having students experience, through direct observation, the actual materials, methods and practice of construction.


“‘Well building hath three conditions: Commodity, Firmness, and Delight.’ Architecture is a focus where three separate purposes have converged. Architecture requires ‘firmness’. By this necessity it stands related to science, and to the standards of science. The inherent characters of marble, brick, wood and iron have moulded its forms, set limits to its achievement, and governed, in a measure, even its decorative detail. On every hand the study of architecture encounters physics, statics, and dynamics, suggesting, controlling, justifying design. It is open to us, therefore, to look in buildings for the logical expression of material properties and material laws. “7 These words of Geoffrey Scott, written in the early years of the 20th century, refer back to the writings of Vitruvius (1st century AD) and his Ten Books on Architecture.7 They indicate a recognition of the importance for architects to understand the principles and methods of materials and construction.

This recognition has continued throughout the history of architecture and architecture education. Curricula in schools of architecture include courses in materials and methods.

Fuller, J. (2001, June), Classroom And Site Integration: Utilizing Site Documentation And Classroom Assignments To Make Connections Between Theory And Practice Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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