When the architecture school at South Dakota State University gets started this fall, it will have a teaching assistant in place who will be able to use his previous experience in the studio, and at the PCI Convention to help the next generation of studio students.
Ethan Millar took part as a student in the first SDSU studio as a third-year architecture student working with the town of Mobridge, South Dakota to create a "pocket park" along the Missouri River. The students at SDSU work closely not only with a rural community but also with Gage Brothers in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to create a small project that benefits the community. In addition to his work at school, Millar traveled to the 2014 PCI Convention in Dallas, Texas and was part of the team that created a poster in the show hall that promoted the studio's work.
Did the relationship of the studio with Gage Brothers assist you in learning? If yes, how?
Yes, Tom Kelly and everybody at Gage Brothers were excited and willing to work with us during the semester. They gave us tours of the plant showing us everything from architectural precast to structural precast. Gage Brothers also assisted us in form making as well as construction drawings of the forms.
What were your impressions of the program?
The studio is a break from how the other studios are set up. Focusing on one material for the semester allows us to more fully understand concrete and its properties, which can then lead to experimentation of the material.
What difference will the studio make to you once you graduate?
Understanding precast concrete will unquestionably help me once I graduate. Precast concrete is used in a wide array of projects, and already having an understanding of precast will help me in the design process.
What made the precast studio stand out from other classes you took?
The hands on approach which coincides with the rest of the program at SDSU; along with carrying out the design as a student to help construct the project.
What is your favorite memory from the studio?
Actually being able to carry out the project from design to construction. Installing the precast onsite along with the rest of the project was my favorite memory.