6 ways Architects make the world a better place

With everything going on in the world today, many students are asking “What can I study that will help make things better?”

We sat down with Dr. Barbara Klinkhammer, Dean of the College of Architecture and the Built Environment at Thomas Jefferson University (TJU), who shared some insights on how Architects are impacting the world for good. Take a look at some highlights or why not listen to the full interview.

1. Designing for needs

If you think about it, the spaces you occupy throughout the day have been touched by a human whether that’s interior or exterior space.

You’re constantly in a space that’s designed and built by somebody in the profession. Architects, Urban Designers, Landscape Architects, all consider the needs of the people using the spaces they’re designing, and create beautiful spaces to meet those needs.

2. Fulfilling a vision

Dr. Klinkhammer grew up in a family of Architects and developed a loved for it through sketching with her father on vacations.

Today’s students have that same opportunity – to do something they love and bring creative ideas to life, whether they’re sitting down with a piece of paper, a piece of clay or digital modeling tools.

“Everybody who has a passion for adding value to society through creation, is able to find a place in this profession” says Dr. Klinkhammer.

3. Working closely with related professions

In today’s world, few people create significant value in isolation and Architecture is no exception.

Programs like those at TJU are designed to help students learn to work closely with related disciplines throughout their careers. Everything from Industrial Design to Architecture is inter-related on some level. Dr. Klinkhammer notes: “Industrial Design is really the very small scale of our environment of what we handle every day.

Anything you touch was designed, at some point, by a Product Designer or Industrial Designer. You have these different scales, from the device or product scale, to the building or urban scale.” The programs at TJU have been designed to allow students flexibility. If they start their program and then find a different area interests them more, they can switch majors without losing time.

4. Creating smart and healthy cities and spaces

With COVID-19, how can Architects or Designers become part of the solution of saving lives? Dr. Klinkhammer says: “At TJU, we have a couple of initiatives we’re running including a new Institute for smart and healthy cities. 

We’re looking into how we can employ and deploy Smart Technologies that connect humans and buildings to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. For example, if you think about wayfinding and hospitals, which is part of what designers do. 

Think about this as somebody who has an infectious disease and needs to avoid other people. How do you develop, possibly through an app, pathways that avoid big crowds in emergency rooms?” 

5. Utilizing sustainable design

The world faces big challenges around energy consumption. Professions can develop new construction systems that consume less energy and can be maintained with less energy over a 50-100-year period.

We have the opportunity to affect climate change in a positive way with new building methods and smart design. Dr. Klinkhammer shares: “There are actually now NetZero buildings or buildings that actually produce energy more than they use through solar power panels, PVC panels, and other strategies. That’s where Architects, Urban Designers, Landscape Architects, Interior Designers, Construction Manager etc. have a huge impact on society in the future.”

This interacts with other fields such as Engineering and Business as we work together to develop sustainable strategies.

6. Helping people enjoy their space

Never before have people been more conscious of the time they spend in certain spaces. Good design and execution impact how happy and healthy we are in our space. 

Dr. Klinkhammer concludes: “I think the impact we have on society is incredible and being part of this was really my passion. The impact I have on being part of making what we call the ‘Gestalt’ of an environment.”

To learn more about Architecture at TJU visit the CABE homepage and for help applying visit our INTO US Affiliates site.

Learn more about Architecture courses with INTO here.

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Kim Lessig

Kim fell in love with international education from the moment she studied abroad in London as part of her English literature degree. She has worked in a variety of roles since then contributing content to sites such as GradSchools.com, StudyAbroad.com, and INTOStudy.com. Her current role as Director of Partnerships for the INTO US Affiliates enables her to partner with institutions to help them recruit international students. She encourages all students to pursue the educational opportunities that will be most meaningful and relevant to reach their dreams.

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