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Architecture Students Present, Give Thanks

Architecture Group
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In a presentation in December, Hampton University Department of Architecture students presented findings from their trip to Italy last summer, and took the time to salute a major financier of the venture, internationally acclaimed urban designer Raymond Gindroz.

Each summer, HU students entering their fourth year of the five and a half year Master of Architecture degree program have an International Travel Studio requirement that takes them to different countries to study urban conditions in a foreign setting, and perform a detailed analysis of a community and its issues. In the end, students develop and propose design related initiatives to address those concerns. 

For the last three years, Gindroz and his wife (through the Marilyn and Ray Gindroz Foundation) have funded a substantial portion of students’ traveling expenses, totaling more than $50,000. He also traveled to Italy with the students, acting as an adjunct professor and helping to coordinate students’ time while there, including meeting with civic leaders and planners.

Department of Architecture Chair Robert Easter said Gindroz’s philanthropy is priceless.

“He expands our program and is involved in the detailed planning of the trips, making contacts so that our students meet persons who also contribute to the academic and social experience of the trip,” Easter said. “Ray followed this up by traveling back to Hampton to review students’ work. I can say without equivocation that our students absolutely love him and his wife. He has endeared himself to our program in ways that can't be quantified.”

A total of 21 students and four faculty members took the trip to Italy this past summer. Students’ presentations detailed their travels throughout the country, including Parma, Pienza and Siena. The trip offered lessons about architecture and life to HU Student Latrina Alston. The Spanish Steps and the Pantheon were among the historical sites students viewed.

“As an architect, everyone wants to make their mark on the world,” she said. “Sometimes the biggest mark you can make is sticking with the tradition that is there.”

Raymong and Marilyn Gindroz

Raymond and Marilyn Gindroz

Gindroz addressed students after their presentation, and announced several student opportunities, including a weeklong classical program in 2010 that offers instruction in free hand drawing and sketching. The Gindroz Foundation is paying for transportation and housing. He also announced funding for next year’s International Travel Studio requirement to France. More than 30 are scheduled to take that three-week trip in June 2010.

Gindroz was introduced to HU by Architecture Professor Shannon Chance, and donates his time, money and effort because others did the same for him in his career, Easter said.

“I passionately believe in certain aspects of architecture and urbanism,” Gindroz said. “To really understand urban design you need to spend time in Europe. You learn things that enable you to see your own world in a different way.”

In the past students have traveled to countries in Africa, Europe and South America.

From the trips abroad, Gindroz said he wants students to gain “the ability to think through complicated problems … the ability to handle anything.”

-Leha Byrd