Eric MacInerney and Ben Heimsath were guest lecturers and guest jurors at Texas A&M at the end of April. First, they gave a presentation to professor Anat Geva’s seminar class on history and the design of sacred architecture.
Eric presented background information on temples in the Hindu tradition and explained the firm’s process in working with the Austin Hindu Temple. The Temple is currently under construction and will be dedicated this summer.
Ben and Eric then joined the jury for the joint studio of both the architecture and the construction sciences departments. Entitled, “Sea, Spirituality, and Sustainability,” student teams were asked to develop a design, construction program, and final presentation for a hypothetical spiritual center on a coastal site.
The jurors spent several hours evaluating both written proposals and the team’s verbal presentations. Overall, the work and enthusiasm of each team was applauded by the jurors. The special challenges of the multi- discipline studio made for some interesting exchanges considering both design and construction issues.
The all-faiths program, both the practical and aesthetic, presented additional challenges. The design solutions ranged from bold, but impractical spaces to well-considered multi-functional rooms. In nearly all the solutions, the students revealed personal expressions of spirituality and place, forgoing references to specific tradition or denomination.
Many thanks to the students, the group of guest jurors, and especially professors Anat Geva and Jim Smith for a most interesting event.