Adjunct Faculty, Interior Design
The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston
I like assignments that build on one another and interrelate, as this is how project-based professionals work. Lauran Drown , Adjunct Faculty, Interior Design , The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston
What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
As a child, I could not do without drawing and it was a major outlet for me. As an undergraduate architecture student, however, I questioned myself. People going in and out of buildings interested me more than the buildings themselves and I wondered whether I shouldn’t do something else. Getting out and seeing the world, other cities, other nations, during and after college, especially ancient places with peeling layers, opened my eyes to the richness and diversity of the human habitat and revealed how it was a reciprocal relationship between culture and the built environment. I couldn’t let go after that.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?
Each project or assignment in my courses serves a purpose and is designed with real-world expectations in mind. I like assignments that build on one another and interrelate, as this is how project-based professionals work. I also try to relate what I am doing in my work, too. For instance, I’ve taken students to the Habitat for Humanity site where I also work part time. They document the homes in different stages, draw a wall section, interview staff. It relates directly to the coursework, but also familiarizes them with being on a worksite and presenting professionally. In the future, they’ll get on site for work and be able to say, "Yeah, I did this already."
Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?
The true classroom for architecture and interior design is right outside the classroom and I try to get students out there with assignments or field trips as much as possible. In one assignment for Programming and Space Planning, each student spent four consecutive hours in a public space, observing and documenting a list of conditions. They were uncomfortable with the idea at first, but in the end told me how time flew and some even returned the following week to clarify questions brought up in their presentations. In Building and Mechanical Systems, we got on chairs and carefully took down ceiling tiles in the hallway to see into the plenum. The attention they got for doing that made it a memorable experience and more dynamic than simply reading about HVAC and sprinkler systems in a book.
Is there anything else you'd like us to know about you, your experience, or your role as a faculty member at The Art Institutes?
I am a licensed architect with a Master of Architecture from McGill University and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Cincinnati. Here in San Antonio, I have my own practice called Bucrane Design Build. I also work part time for Habitat for Humanity and am currently the vice president of the Earthen Construction Initiative, a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance and promote earthen construction in the Central Texas region and beyond.