Andrés Martinez (HUM ’20): Driehaus Scholar and Future Architect
Andrés received technical and theoretical training during the four-week architecture studio; he credits King's for preparing him well philosophically.
Andrés Martinez (Humanities ’20) was attending community college in his home state of California, undecided about how to pursue his goal of studying architecture, when his cousin and King’s alumnus Eduardo Miranda (PPE ’15) suggested something unexpected—why not earn a liberal arts degree to explore the great ideas behind architecture instead of focusing only on the technical aspects of the discipline?
Although an architecture school would have been a more traditional route, Andrés was attracted to King’s because of its emphasis on the classics. Just as he had observed in current trends a disturbing lack of focus on classical architecture, he noticed that many college programs in architecture lacked any serious study of foundational philosophies or beliefs. He chose the Humanities major at King’s since it contained his ideal balance of great ideas and civilization courses. Andrés continues to be impressed not only by the challenging and stimulating class environment at King’s, but also by his professors’ care for his personal growth and development. Andrés, a practicing Roman Catholic, has also appreciated studying in the College’s Christian environment, and says, “Having the faith practiced at The King’s College—you’re not studying great ideas in a secular tradition which can be very harmful. Although King’s is more of a Protestant school, there is balanced liturgical practice and fair discussion in the classroom.”
During spring 2018, Andrés attended an event at NYU featuring classical architect Duncan G. Stroik, who primarily designs religious and sacred buildings. Andrés had the chance to speak with Stroik, who told him about the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art’s summer studio in classical architecture and encouraged Andrés to apply. The summer studio, Stroik said, would prepare Andrés to eventually study architecture in graduate school. Andrés was also motivated to apply for a scholarship in order to offset the considerable financial commitment; much to his delight, he was awarded both a place in the studio and a scholarship from the Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust, granting him the title of Driehaus Scholar at ICAA.
One of the primary benefits of attending ICAA’s summer studio, according to Andrés, was the instruction in the classical orders and language of architecture. “I used to think that the classical language of architecture was only limited to certain building types, but now I think that it can be used for any kind of project. Rather than being thrown into a mosh pit of the latest competing architectural ideas, my classmates, tutors, and I shared a common, established language of architecture.” The studio enabled Andrés to combine philosophies he had already studied at King’s with the practical application of those ideas in the world of architecture, culminating in his final project for the studio: an architectural design of an entrance pavilion for Prospect Park. The studio’s location in NYC represented another huge advantage, providing Andrés with the opportunity to visit distinguished and award-winning architecture firms such as Robert A.M. Stern Architects, Peter Pennoyer Architects, and Historical Concepts, and the ability to learn firsthand from some of the most accomplished professionals in the business.
During ICAA’s four-week studio, Andrés received both technical and theoretical training; he credits his courses at King’s, particularly Dr. Talcott’s Socratic approach in philosophy, Foundations of Politics with Dr. Innes, Western Civilization with Dr. Brand, and Dr. Bleattler’s Arts and Ideas, with preparing him well for the philosophical aspects of this experience. In addition, Andrés was thankful for his King’s training in how to think and speak critically, and how to recognize people’s ethical and political claims through their work.
Andrés says, “Other students [coming from architecture schools] were literally cringing during the theoretical conversations, but I felt extremely well prepared to participate in classroom discussion because of my King’s classes.” Counterintuitive as it may seem, Andrés contends that architecture students in general should seek an education in the great ideas as the best foundation for technical studies of architecture.