Late Night Series: Architecture students work into the early morning

First year architecture student Daniel Polk works late at Pence Hall. Photo by Tessa Lighty | Staff

By Chase Sanders

Architecture students don’t study in the typical quiet and orderly library-like atmosphere. It’s actually more like a social event, with students yelling from one wall of a room to the other over a high volume of loud, shrieking machines.

Late Wednesday night, two UK architect and design seniors, Ryan Bashore and Laura Mattingly, were hard at work in the basement of Pence Hall while most UK students were hanging out.

“Most of the time there is a lot going on here, and everyone has to interact with their work,” Bashore said.

Apparently Wednesday wasn’t the only Pint Night the two have missed because they were plugging away in the studio or design lab.

“I’m here this late pretty much all the time,” Mattingly said.

They agreed that during this time of the school year, they have to burn the midnight oil a little more than usual.

“Since it’s midterms, I get to go home around 4 a.m. or 5 a.m.,” Mattingly said. “But on a regular night, I probably go home around midnight — and that’s on a good night.”

She was exerting her energy on multiple pages of design reports for a project, which will have a lasting effect on the other side of the world.

“I’m working on a project for Japan,” Mattingly said. “We’re working to design a building that will help rehabilitate the disaster areas from the earthquake and tsunami.”

Victims of the March 11 natural disaster that ravaged the country will use the building for educational purposes.

“It will be a cultural center with a theater, lecture hall, resource library, tool and workshop,” she said.

Mattingly is working hard to finish her portion of the project by the end of this semester.

“We just had our midterm today, and now we’re developing a site strategy, formal strategy and programmatic strategy. They basically show how the structure will be integrated into the potential sites,” she said.

She said the project is one of her favorites since she’s been a student at UK because “of the positive impact it will have” on so many people’s lives.

Although the Japanese cultural center is one of her favorites, Mattingly expressed that she worked on her favorite project while studying abroad.

“I went to Amsterdam, Netherlands over the summer where we figured out different ways to build on dikes, which are like dams that keep water from reaching the land,” she said.

Bashore also studied in Amsterdam this past summer, and worked on a few projects with Mattingly while he was there.

They both gained a plethora of knowledge about architecture when he was overseas.

“The Netherlands is almost like the architectural capital of the world,” Bashore said, “and I’m able to use everything I learned over there on the project I’m working on now.”

Bashore, who will be graduating in December, literally works the night away.

“I’m normally here about 12 hours a day at a minimum,” he said.

Around 1:30 a.m., Bashore was configuring data on Rhino, a 3-D architecture computer program, for one of the two projects.

He is making a progression of the Louisville Water Tower, from when it was first built.

“The images illustrate how the Water Tower has transitioned over time,” he said.

He also is working on an innovative project for the Louisville Water Company with Michael Speaks, the College of Architecture and Design dean, and Freek Presyn, from a Belgium architecture firm called 51N4E.

“They asked us to create some concept ideas for a Water Education Center,” he said.

He said their project is still in the beginning stages, but his team is making progress.

“We’re in the research phase, and we will meet with the water company next week,” he said. “We will present our research, concepts and ideas about the company and the building.”

More specifically, he said UK students will exhibit “different scenarios the company might want to use for the Water Education Center drive for their idea” of becoming the water capital.

Right now, Bashore spends his nights trying to cultivate ideas for the project.

“Next semester we’ll take it to the studio, and actually work on a design for them,” he said.

He is also working on an independent project with Professor Rives Rash that involves making custom bikes out of plywood, which he started working on at 2:15 a.m. Thursday morning.

Rash, an architecture and design professor, acknowledged even faculty aren’t off the hook when it comes to participation in the late-night and early-morning learning sessions at Pence Hall.

He said there are “two points in the semester where professors have to be around late,” while their students work diligently.

“One is during midterms and finals when students are all trying to grind out projects, and the other time is if someone calls, because a digital machine breaks down in the middle of the night,” he said.

Rash enjoys working with his students, even if it does mean he has to be on-call like a doctor.

“It’s really nice working with Ryan because he is ambitious and he takes a lot of his own initiative,” Rash said.

The night owl, Bashore, replied before he left at 4 a.m., “if I didn’t enjoy this then I wouldn’t do it, but I’m not the only one pulling long hours. A lot of people do a lot of interesting things around here.”