A Lesson in Design

Art class visits architect Rob Bramhall’s studio in Andover.
Many of architect Rob Bramhall’s sketches, models, and photographs have come to Brooks to hang in the Lehman Art Center for this month’s exhibit. Tuesday, Brooks students made the opposite journey; they traveled from Brooks to Bramhall’s architecture studio in Andover, Mass., to get a closer look at his workspace and how his projects move from the conceptual stage through to sketches, 3-D models and construction.
Rob Bramhall Architects is a small architecture firm that designs residential, institutional and specialty projects throughout the Northeast, the American West and the Canadian Maritimes. The firm designed Chace House at Brooks, an energy-saving dormitory with large common areas and living spaces for 22 boys and three faculty members. Bramhall’s design work will be exhibited in the Lehman Art Center through November 17; the formal opening is Thursday, Oct. 23 at 6:30 p.m.
Art teacher and director of the Lehman Art Center Amy Graham was using the week before the opening of Bramhall’s exhibition to introduce students in her art classes to the world of architecture. Her 2-D design class, which visited the studio on Tuesday, had spent the past few classes creating charcoal sketches of buildings on Brooks’ campus that they had photographed.
It was a great segue into seeing Bramhall’s studio, where they saw drawings he’s currently working on.
“It’s so cool that he sketches them right out of his head,” said Molly McGoldrick ’15.
Elsa Grant ’17 liked getting to watch a demonstration of SketchUp, 3-D modeling software that she has used before. They were able to see everything from a simple bench in 3-D to a whole urban landscape modeled through the program at Bramhall’s studio.
Graham said the trip was designed to introduce students to the field of architecture.
“It’s just to give them a sound bite of what is an incredibly rich world of architecture,” she said. “It’s a mathematical field, but it’s very connected to art.”
An architecture major in college, Graham said she wants students to know that it’s about more than straight lines and measurements.
“As a student, I was surprised how much it’s about people and spaces,” she said. “It starts with human life — the functionality and the joy of human life.”
Graham’s classes will also have an opportunity to hear head general contractor of Consigli Construction Rachel Hampton speak about the renovations the firm has undertaken to the Ashburn Chapel. The class will even have an opportunity to visit the Chapel, which is nearing completion.
Graham said she tries to incorporate variety into the art curriculum and the Lehman Art Center’s exhibits.
“Whenever I look at who’s in the gallery, I look at the year as a whole,” she said. “It seemed like moving from landscapes and Ali Clift’s work to architecture was a good segue.”
Rob Bramhall, architect
Formal opening: October 23, 2014, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Show runs through November 17, 2014
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