Seeing is believing

Oct 06, 2017

SALA students travel to Stockholm to view and document their surroundings

Although it’s not mandatory, SALA students are encouraged to venture far away from UBC’s Vancouver campus while enrolled in a study abroad course. This summer, Professor Leslie Van Duzer took a group of 23 students to Stockholm, Sweden, to expand their design horizons.

Professor Van Duzer believes that witnessing architecture firsthand enriches educational experiences for SALA students: “You can see all the slides of a building, but there’s no replacement for seeing a building or city in person.”

Her course, Stockholm S, M, L, XL (cross-listed as ARCH 538E and ENDS 482J) took interested students to Stockholm because the city offers a unique perspective on the intersection of social values, planning policy, and the relationship between landscape and architecture through “the use of landscape as infrastructure, the design of intimately scaled architecture, and innovation fabrication technologies,” she said.

The course was offered in tandem with another course taught by renowned architectural photographer, Michael Perlmutter. That course, Stockholm Through the Lens (ARCH 538F and ENDS 482K) focuses on the craft of architectural photography. It gives students the opportunity to enrich their understanding of the fundamental issues regarding the representation of architecture through firsthand photography experience.

Riley was one of the students who travelled to Stockholm. He appreciated a mix of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning was built into the course. “This approach allowed us to learn about more than just famous buildings,” he said. “We were able to learn about the whole picture, about how each facet is connected and how essential each part is.”

“It was a fantastic and eye opening experience,” Riley said.

Alexander also valued the opportunity of traveling overseas to learn about the built environment. From Michael Perlmutter’s course, he learned six fundamental lessons about architectural photography: “Don’t obstruct the subject, everything should have a rationale, don’t get cute, lighting is everything, proper cropping is essential, and convey context.”

This is the first time that a course in professional architectural photography has been offered as a Study Abroad course. At the end of the course, students presented a series of images from one of their photography projects. Early this semester, some of these photos were put on display in the lobby of the Frederic Lasserre building. 

Photos by Alexander Turton.