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Welcome Messages

Jorge Vanegas

Howdy and welcome. 

On behalf of the College of Architecture (COA) at Texas A&M University (TAMU) in College Station, Texas, I am very pleased to welcome you as our guests to the 36th National Conference on the Beginning Design Student (NCBDS), which will be hosted virtually by the COA from April 1 to April 3, 2021, after the global pandemic forced its postponement from last year. 

Although the theme of the conference, AFTER FORM, did not change, and the question driving this theme of “whether the idea of form is still a suitable beginning for the education of a designer?” is still relevant, our entire world has changed indeed for all of us, and in many ways that we do not even realize yet. Therefore, the expansion of the original context and scope of the conference to specifically encourage scholarship of teaching and learning that explicitly addresses beginning design education during and after the pandemic, particularly research, development, demonstration, and deployment of remote or hybrid teaching and learning environments and experiences in beginning design education is not only timely, but of critical importance to our Nation and the World. From my perspective, it is no longer just about the world of design, but rather, of the design of the world that our College envisions: a world designed for (1) Quality of Life for People, everyone; (2) Quality of Place for People, everywhere in the Natural, Built, and Virtual Environments; and (3) Quality of Human Endeavors, what people do in a place in the Social Environment.

I would also like to conclude by expressing the full support from the COA to the Steering Committee for NCBDS 36, which is composed of Professors Andrew R. Tripp, Weiling He, and James Michael Tate who have been committed to delivering an excellent program and will make every possible effort to ensure that your participation in the conference will be an enjoyable experience. I sincerely hope that, in addition to enjoying the program that will be delivered, you will also enjoy our Texan Aggie virtual hospitality, and will leave with a better appreciation of our College and our University. 


Dr. Jorge Vanegas

Dean of the College of Architecture at Texas A&M University

Gregory A. Luhan

Howdy and welcome to the Texas A&M University Department of Architecture.

The Department of Architecture welcomes the 36th National Conference on the Beginning Design Student (NCBDS) to Texas A&M University. As perceived by the steering committee, the conference presents a plethora of opportunities to examine architectural education from its earliest levels to (in)form consistent educational workflows while triggering growth opportunities for future architects and scholars.

The Department of Architecture at Texas A&M intentionally aligns 21st-century models of teaching, critical thinking, and making with the traditional registers of architecture – drawing, modeling, building, speaking, and writing  – to impact its approach to design instruction. The department also leverages expertise in history, theory, criticism, technology, structures, representation, and engagements by the design studio as a unifying structure to address real-world issues at multiple scales.

Similarly, the conference intentionally confronts conditions “After Form” to examine the persistences of architecture – scale, detail, material, meaning – by actively connecting pedagogy to the emergent themes of multidisciplinary collaboration and design research. The contributions from scholars worldwide demonstrate how students can capably engage in research, teaching, and practice starting in first-year architecture curriculums across the United States.

This conference also utilizes a range of platforms – daily presentations, performances, keynote speakers, and printed proceedings – to dynamically connect traditional modes of representation with retrievable mediums that will exist well beyond the conference. The keynote lectures by Laura Bouwman and Andrew Zago - Bouwman Zago; Anda French and Jenny French - French 2D, and Dr. Harriet Harriss anchor the three-day event, which features more than 85 faculty/researchers/scholars who will present their cutting-edge research.

We trust that you will enjoy your time in our virtual zoom presentations and the networking possibilities enabled by our breakout rooms as the conference pushes the boundaries of architectural education well into the next decade.

On behalf of my colleagues in the College of Architecture and the Department of Architecture, I thank you for your participation and welcome you to join our active and engaged discussions.


Gregory A. Luhan, Ph.D., AIA

The Ward V. Wells Endowed Professor of Architecture

Department Head of Architecture at Texas A&M University

Jim Sullivan

Let's Begin Again.

Let me first say I love beginnings. The start of things is full of a beautiful mix of hope and optimism, apprehension and nervousness. When I taught beginning design (something I hope to return to soon), I would see this optimism and apprehension on my students' faces. As they sat at studio desks, in the first moment of the first day in their first studio at the start of college life, before I had yet to speak, they would all be looking forward, not at me, but instead at their future.

I would be looking that way too, and together we would be on the cusp between what came before and what we hope would come next. And together, we would step forward to begin.

Today, as we initiate this 36th National Conference on the Beginning Design Student, we find ourselves in a similar situation after a year postponed. We, too, look forward with optimism and apprehension. We, too, are on a cusp, and we, too, will step forward. As we do so, we owe thanks to Texas A&M University and the 36th NCDBS Steering Committee. Their tenacity and perseverance over the past year made this year's conference possible. Of course, we also owe thanks to each other as each of us is part of this beginning design community that makes the NCBDS possible year after year. Happily, I welcome you back to it, and to those joining us for the first time, I welcome you to our conference and our community. So let's begin again and enjoy an enriching NCDBS.

Jim Sullivan, AIA

Dean of the College of Professional Studies, and Professor in the School of Architecture, Marywood University