My name is Megan Shrout, and I am a third year architecture student at the Pennsylvania State University’s main campus. University Park is Penn State’s only campus that offers this bachelor and I have dreamed of becoming an architect since I was in second grade. I live on campus during the school year; in the summer, I reside close to 20 minutes away in the rural town of Petersburg (on a farm I might add). It’s about five minutes away from Penn State’s Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center. Where I live you can see the milky way every night unless its cloudy. I’ve always appreciated nature’s beauty, but working on a farm really gives you a strong perspective on how you impact the environment and how it impacts you. I took personal interest in this course because I believe seeing environments from different perspectives and learning about “green approaches” will help develop my future (architecture) design impacts and decisions.
Being in architecture, I’ve learned about manipulating landscapes to incorporate my designs. Recently, I had to design a visitor center for the Farnsworth House (1945-1951). It was a residential project by Mies van der Rohe that is situated five feet above the ground (by I-beams) which resides in a floodplain in Illinois. Originally the design worked to keep the waters from entering the house, but over time (and residential development upstream) the house now floods seasonally. If Mies van der Rohe had access to the advanced capabilities that geographers have/produce today, he may have been able to extrapolate a higher flood line to design to. Understanding the site through a temporal aspect, such as estimating the future developments of the area, is a large design consideration that architects need to address.