How the Way of Beauty Atelier has helped an Aspiring Architect

An architecture student who attended the Way of Beauty program at Thomas More College in New Hampshire tells how what he learnt about traditional proportion has improved his designs and enabled him to get a prestigious scholarship. Last summer an young Catholic architecture graduate, Geoff Yovanovic attended one of the Way of Beauty Atelier. As well as improving his drawing, he hoped that what he would learn might give him insights in to how architecture can conform to a culture of beauty; and give him an edge in his search for placements with architecture firms that had more traditional work. He was recently graduated from university, looking for a placement to work towards full profession qualification.

The lectures and talks were given helped him, but also because he expressed this interest to me. In response, I did my best to give him as much additional reading as I could and we began a dialogue in which we discussed how this information might be applicable to his particular situation. I encouraged him to believe that using traditional proportion would allow his work to stand out in the pack even if he was doing mundane projects, as I wrote in the article Proportion Adds Value to Property. He took what I said seriously, did work to learn more about his (even writing an article for this blog during the year, here). Then just this past week I got the following email from him describing his latest success which he attributes, in part, to what he learnt on the course. Here it is:


'Dear David

Last fall I did a little design exercise for a local priest friend who's parish is relocating.  At the time, there was no real design concept so he gave me permission to work on a conceptual design for a church and school on the stipulation that it was an exercise.  Having learned about Oxford University courtyards last summer from your class, I integrated into the design the academic courtyard with the chapel and cafeteria opposite from each other.  I explained to him the philosophy/ theology behind the arrangement.  I also integrated a garden into the design.  He loved the design, especially the courtyard and garden, and wanted to bring me on as the design architect for the project.  Unfortunately, once the diocese got involved, they brought in their "approved" architect and dismissed any idea the priest had of me as architect.

Tonight, I visited the church and saw the design which the architect had done, and there was no mistaking the influence that my exercise had.  The design, in particular, the site plan is quite different from the ordinary work in this architect's online portfolio.  The entire church campus in his design is built around the idea of the courtyard and garden. (I have attached my design exercise) And where the diocese and the earthly church did not compensate me, Christ has made sure that I was paid monetarily and spiritually.  I put this church design in my portfolio for graduate school, and I was awarded a fellowship with full scholarship and teaching stipend to Notre Dame.  I will begin at the end of July with a one month watercolor and hand drafting crash course.  Last summer, this course was taught by David Mayernik, who in emailing back and forth last fall suggested that I should apply to ND.

I hope you are doing well as the semester wraps up.  I just wanted to share with you how rewarding last summer has and continues to be.

Best Regards,

Geoff Yovanovic'