Club excels, boasts TDS Center as host of 2013 American Institute Conference

Stephen Trinkwald

Equinox Staff


As Keene State College’s Architecture Club returns from one conference, they prepare to host their own gathering.

For the first time, KSC’s architecture club will be hosting a conference in the fall of 2013.

Conferences are held once a semester by schools associated with the American Institute of Architecture Students.

Senior Alex Fournier, president of the Architecture Club, said this is an accomplishment that many seniors didn’t think was possible as freshmen four years ago.

Contributed Photo Keene State College architecture student Kelsey Greenleaf presents her work. The Architecture Club has announced that KSC will host the 2013 American Institute of Architecture Students Conference this coming fall.

Contributed Photo
Keene State College architecture student Kelsey Greenleaf presents her work. The Architecture Club has announced that KSC will host the 2013 American Institute of Architecture Students Conference this coming fall.

Fournier said that the growth of the program, along with the construction and development of the TDS Center, are what made hosting a conference a real possibility.

“Over the four years, the club’s been getting stronger and everything’s been built up a lot, and now we have this new building to show off,” Fournier said.

The club’s faculty advisor, Professor Bart Sapeta, attributed the growth of the program to the enthusiasm of the students, as well as the hands-on teaching methods of the faculty. Sapeta said that the construction of the TDS center played a role in the growth of the architecture program.

“The building plays a humongous role in everything that we do because the previous building we had was in such disarray that nobody even knew we had an architecture program. It was kind of the best kept secret for a long, long time,” Sapeta said.

Sapeta said the lack of recognition was no fault of the students in the program.

“The quality of the program was very good and it was rising but we didn’t have the spaces,” Sapeta said. Sapeta explained that the conference is an opportunity for the architecture club and program to engage with the campus and community.

Fournier said she also hopes that the conference becomes an opportunity to get the community involved for the benefit of not only KSC students, but also the visiting students.

KSC senior and secretary of the Architecture Club Jillian Tomaselli, said that bringing a conference to KSC has been in the works since Fall Semester of 2011.

“[In the] Fall of 2011 we started really sitting down and brainstorming ideas for themes and workshops and if it was possible for us to do it here, because we knew this building would be here this year,” Tomaselli said.  The next step was putting together a bid, compiled by multiple students, Sapeta said.

Tomaselli said KSC’s conference will be different from others the club has participated in because of the other programs in the TDS building.

“This is interesting in that we also have sustainable product design and safety all have under one roof, and that collaboration is something that we really want to highlight,” Tomaselli said.

Event Manager for the Architecture Club, Stefan Cavezzali, said the bid was presented at the AIAS National Conference in Washington D.C. over the summer. “We put together a bid package which was comprised of a budget, different activities, and speakers then we got that together, made a prezi, and a brochure and presented at the national conference,” Cavezzali said.

Tomaselli said that club members considered putting in a bid to host this semester, but they wanted to make sure that everything was perfect for KSC’s first opportunity to host, and a fully prepared TDS building was a big part of that.

“We needed this space; it would not be possible without this space. That’s why we waited. Originally we wanted to hold it this semester but now we’re going for the fall. We needed this space but also we wanted to be able to share our studio space with the other students. We’ve seen a lot of their studios and we want to show them ours,” Tomaselli said.

The theme of the conference in the fall is regeneration. Fournier said the regeneration is a philosophy that came forth because it’s important in moving forward.

“We’re going to focus on regeneration, which is like redesigning for the next generation, and our focus is taking design technologies and techniques from the past and rebuilding them into something new that can refurbish our environment,” Fournier said.

KSC’s Architecture Club recently returned from a trip to Penn State University for this semester’s AIAS conference. The conference consisted of lectures and workshops, and Cavezzali said it was a great opportunity for networking.

“It’s just a really great way to connect with other programs and see where their architecture programs work as opposed to ours and bring it back,” Tomaselli said.

Fournier said the conference was also a great chance for the younger students to experience the event they will be hosting in the Fall Semester.

Fournier said the conference put the program’s progress into perspective. “We got to network with a lot of schools all around the northeast and get to see what their programs are compared to ours, and a lot of the areas that they are lacking in we are strong in, but we still need to boost our program a little bit more than what it is at this point,” Fournier said.

While the TDS building was key to hosting the conference next semester, club members said there will be various other events around campus.

Members said the Mabel Brown Room would also be used, and possibly also the DC, but some specifics still need to be worked out.
Stephen Trinkwald can be contacted at

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