The Weekly Architect

The Weekly Architect

December 2011

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December 2011

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December 2011

The Weekly Architect

The Weekly Architect

December 2011

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Working hard toward achieving goals
So Chris, how did you get into the architecture business?

When it comes to architecture, Chris Whittle knows what he is talking about. He is pursuing the subject, but has challenges ahead. Recently, The Weekly Architect sat down with this aspiring professional to speak about his personal and professional goals:

I have wanted to become an architect since I was 14, when I hand-drew my future dream house. That triggered me to apply to Worcester Technical High School (formerly Voke). I was accepted into the Drafting program, where I studied for four years and did practical work on AutoCAD and Autodesk Inventor. I transferred the plans electronically, and eventually did 3D modeling in Google Sketchup. I learned [Sketchup] on my own for the most part, without the instructors’ assistance. They were impressed. I graduated in 2009 with honors.

Most of your classmates did not get jobs after graduation because of the poor economy, right?
Unfortunately, that was the case. Most of us did not even get co-op jobs because employers had laid-off their regular people and had to pay who was left. The drafting department required on paper that seniors serve a co-op position in order to graduate, but this was waived. Students from the other trades didn’t get jobs either, but the flipside is that Worcester Tech is a Chapter 74 program, and Chapter 74 of the Massachusetts General Laws says that work experience from vocational-technical schools must be paid. This was written back in the dark ages when vocational high schools were for students who were not college material. Boy, times have changed, and I was encouraged by my guidance counselor to apply to colleges. As far as the compensation requirement, I think unpaid internships should be substituted if possible. Continued on next page

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December 2011

The Weekly Architect

The Weekly Architect

December 2011

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Continued from the previous page
You got into Boston Architectural College, but could not go because of financial constraints, and had to go to a community college to save money. What made come of it? Well, the BAC did not work out, and tried to get deferred acceptance, but a new dean ripped up my application and threw it away. Meanwhile, I have been in the Applied Arts Program at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, and it has been a good experience, despite being off-target with the overall architectural picture. I have learned more computer software such as the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, and In-Design). I have had my first training as an artist, but more as a virtual artist, with everything done on a Macintosh. It is an intensive program, and I had to spend three years in the program. If all successful, I will be graduating in May 2012. What are you going to do after graduation? I will be applying to three architectural programs as a transfer, but they will be very difficult at my age since transfers into architectural programs are very rare. The applications are due soon, and I hope I get into a program that will be academically compatible, and get enough scholarships and financial aid to cover my expenses. I will finally plan on moving from Worcester to the Boston area; hopefully I will buy and not rent, but I cannot control those things. If the economy is well and I am able to obtain a part-time job, I’ll take it. But if there is poor economy, which it still is, then I will suffer along with everyone else. I know that the political situation in this country is very unstable these days, so we have to try to work together to bring the country back to sanity. You have mentioned that while Massachusetts only requires a B.Arch in order to be a registered architect, but many other states (like New York) require a M.Arch. Will you work towards a M.Arch? Yes, I will do all in my power to get an M.Arch. The BAC offered a B.Arch that would have took 7 years to complete, but all three places I wish to go now have an unaccredited bachelor’s and a National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) approved M.Arch. Wentworth Institute of Technology has a 4-year B.S. in architecture, and if you get a 3.2 GPA, you are automatically admitted into the one-year M.Arch bridge program. (Anyone under that must apply.) Their M.Arch is normally 2 years if you apply from outside the institution. Northeastern University has normally a 5-year B.S. that bridges to a one-year M.Arch, but that option is the most expensive; albeit if an articulation agreement from Worcester Tech exists with them. Both Wentworth and Northeastern have co-op programs, which will fulfill some hours (out of 5600) required for licensure. The final program, Mass Art, has a 4-year BFA in architecture, but does not bridge to their M.Arch. This option is the least expensive, but the longest to complete. You have interest in religious, civic, and residential architecture. How can you explain this? Well, the religious architecture comes as a natural because of my faith. As a traditional practicing Roman Catholic, art and architecture are very important parts of a church building and the sacred liturgy in general. Parish churches are required to have some many art furnishings because of the symbolism behind them. I chaired the Boston Society of Architects religious architecture committee for two and a half years, and learned a lot from other religious traditions as well as Christianity. I hope that religious buildings will be one of my subspecialties when the time comes to open my own studio. As far as residential is concerned, most firms do residential anyway, so this would be a natural fit since I believe all Americans should be able to own a home if they wish to. In terms of civic or government buildings, I believe they should be done in the classical style since those were the buildings of the Colonial days, and some designed by architect and 3rd President of the United States Thomas Jefferson. You are generally against Modernism, aren’t you? For the most part, yes. It is part of the Catholic Faith. Pope St. Pius X condemned the subject several times, even writing his famous Oath Against Modernism, which used to be recited by all clergy and professors of Catholic schools, colleges, universities, and seminaries at the beginning of the academic year, usually around September 3rd, his feast day. But since the Second Vatican Council, Modernism has virtually, if not materially, destroyed the Church. It’s not just doctrinal Modernism, but physical Modernism that we can actually see daily. Most of today’s new church buildings can’t be recognized as a church! People are overspending for buildings that are more likely to collapse than their predecessors. You’re on a crusade to find a wife who is Catholic just like you. Would you marry an architect? Yes, of course! If I am with someone with similar interests, then it would be easier for me and her to run a business. We can both be “work from home” parents. We can take continuing ed classes together. Our children might be interested in the subject later Continued on next page

Continued from the previous page Career Highlights for Chris Whittle
on, if we get any! You need family, and my family now is mostly elderly and you never know when they are going to pass away. So my family has to radically get younger. Catholicism requires very rigid requirements for marriage, and that’s why I’m not married yet. I hope that changes within the next few years. There are many of my peers at QCC that are older and married with grandchildren. So if they can go to school married and parenting, certainly with the grace of God I can. If you and your [future] wife eventually decide to run a business, what will you two design? We’ll see. But I would really not design a Catholic house of worship if they say the Vatican II Mass because it misleads a lot of people! ♣ Chris Whittle may be reached via email at crwhittle11@gmail.com.

• Graduate draftsman from Worcester Tech • Associate’s in Applied Arts candidate • Proficient in AutoCAD, ArchiCAD, Sketchup, and the Adobe Creative Suite • Chaired BSA Religious Architecture committee from 2009-11 • Currently seeking application into three architecture programs: Wentworth, Northeastern, and Mass Art.

chris’ Portfolio View
Whittle House Greater Boston Area
Project is inaguaral project for Chris as this was supposed to be his “Dream House”, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to be constructed unless it is revisited later in his career. A comtempory colonial that looks modest, it has 2 living rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2 dining rooms, a finished basement and a swimming pool in the backyard. Would sit on a 90’ x 90’ lot (.81 acres), which is small compared to today’s larger desires. The tan siding and seagul shingles make it a colonial for all seasons, but it does get hot during the summer and cold during the winter outside, so heating and cooling were to be energy efficient (Boy, flunking the Energy Star test would be an apocolypse!). Began sketching in 2004, and enhanced little by little thereafter.

Google Sketchup rendition of Whittle House

ArchiCAD renditions of Whittle House

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The Weekly Architect

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Portfolio view continued
Matthew 25 House Worcester, MA Mechanics Hall Model
While at Worcester Tech, Chris was part of the design team to help design a low-income house in a redeveloping neighborhood. As part of the Drafting department, modeled the house (kitchen interior at left) while the construction trade students built it in 2008.

Portfolio view continued
Worcester, MA
With a connection of the instructor, while a senior at Worcester Tech, Chris started ongoing 3D facilities for Mechanics Hall, Worcester’s oldest civic association, designed by Elderige Boyden. This neo-classical hall was forged pretty good by Chris, who drew sketches and models by hand and on Google Sketchup. He reproduced the Hook & Hastings Organ precisely.

Worcester City Hall Basement Renovations Worcester, MA
Worcester Tech students were charged with a little makeover of the basement of the historic City Hall (1898), which saved the taxpayers a ton of money. To the left is a floorplan of the basement done in AutoCAD.

Church and School Complex

Texas

As an ongoing, in-progress project, this new church and school complex in the hot Texas heat will have a state of the art quality classrooms that are energy efficient. The church will seat 500 and the school should have approximately 300 students from kindergarten through grade 12. The exterior blends the school and church together in a Notre Dame de Chartres style, athough you have to enter the church part from the side door. The church is traditional, athough the choir loft is invisble behind the high altar and above the sacristy. The sancutary seats a priest, deacon, subdeacon, and up to 21 altar boys, for some may also sing in the schola. There is a Gothic confessional and a separate baptistery near the main entrance as Baptism is needed to enter the church; the Rite of Baptism begins at the church door.

St. Botolph’s Church (imaginary) Boston, MA
Boston, Massachusetts is named for Boston, Lincolnshire, who in turn is named after St. Botolph, a medieval priest who lived in the church and town named after him. The Boston Stump in England is the tallest non-cathedral church in the world, standing well over 500 feet. While there is no church named after St. Botolph in Boston, Massachusetts, Chris decided to sketch one similiar porportionally to the one in the UK. To the left you see a hand-drawn floorplan sketched on grid paper, which calls for seating for 600 in the nave, 2 confessionals, a Lady Chapel, a Sacred Heart Chapel, an All Souls Chapel, and a St. Patrick Chapel. The baptistery is located just outside the foyer. There is a high altar in front of the solid rood wall, with the other side a Blessed Sacrament Chapel. There are 24 stained glass windows in the nave (12 on each side).

(Above) Hand-sketch of the high altar (Left) Google Sketchup section view of the sanctuary

To view more of Chris’ work log onto: http://chriswhittleportfolioarch.blogspot.com

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December 2011

The Weekly Architect

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