"Drawing on Nature" Student Artwork Exhibit with Guest Lecture Provided by Suzanne Eberle

Amidst the calculus, thermodynamics, and structures classes there exists a class that breaks the stereotypical mold of a “Tech class” – ARCH 4833, “Drawing on Nature”. If you were to walk into the class on any given day, you would find biomedical engineering, computer science, and industrial design majors all sketching with charcoal or painting with watercolors. But what is more interesting than these students learning new, “right brain” skills is how they perceive their art. While the class teaches the necessary technical underpinnings of composition, tone, and gesture, students are urged to relate their artistic subject matter back to their chosen field of study.


For example, an undergraduate aerospace engineering student decided to focus her final project on a movement study of birds, paying close attention to the details of birds’ wings. Looking past the initial capturing of the birds’ motion, she related the animal wing structure to aircraft design.  The opening of the Stubbins Gallery will house this exhibit, plus a multitude of other student works that display the course content.


It’s a welcome change of pace for many students on campus, one that allows them to tap in to their creativity while exploring design principles of the world around them. Offered through the Innovation and Design Collaborative, “Drawing on Nature” is open to students from any major, both graduate and undergraduate levels. It has been offered only once before, and students are clamoring to be added to the wait list for next semester. Pure student want has driven the inclusion of a secondary course was to the repertoire of “creative” classes; this secondary class is again bio-inspired, but focuses on the use of watercolor in nature studies.


The class is a wonderful representation of what is going on in the Innovation and Design Collaborative, a newly launched initiative at Georgia Tech, housed in the School of Industrial Design, but including the School of Mechanical Engineering and the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The major-agnostic entity offers a variety of workshops, curriculum courses, and events that highlight the five tenets of design behaviors: creative craft, entrepreneurial spirit, empathy, rapid iteration, and contextual awareness. These behaviors span disciplines, utilizing design methodologies to advance rapid change. The Innovation and Design Collaborative, affectionately called the Design Bloc by students, takes the best and brightest 21st century creative thinkers at Georgia Tech and leverages design thinking to disrupt markets and drive innovation.


Student artwork is on display in the Stubbins Gallery in the Georgia Tech College of Architecture East Building until April 11th, 2015.


Course Instruction Provided By:

Lane M. Duncan, A.I.A. (Senior Lecturer)

Prof. Jeannette Yen (Director, Center for Biologically Inspired Design)

Prof. Marc Weissburg (Co-Director, Center for Biologically Inspired Design)

Clara Winston (TA, M. Arch. 2015)

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