Byron Jefferies and Luke Perry are teaching the next generation of architects

Johnston Design Group hosts Clemson architecture students during annual Greenville Firm Crawl

30 Clemson students participated in a design charrette with us as part of their 2020 Firm Crawl.

Like any profession, architecture depends on a pipeline of new talent. Two of our architectural designers, Byron Jefferies and Luke Perry, are working on that pipeline. Byron is a lecturer at Clemson University’s School of Architecture. He leads the second-year design studio, teaching concepts and techniques to sophomore architectural students. Luke is teaching the Senior Architecture class at the SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities.

Their goal is to make architecture exciting for young designers. Sharing their knowledge and experience creates a point of entry into the profession and both Byron and Luke enjoy teaching. Luke notes, “It’s good to get out of the office and get back to the basics. We’re reconnecting with what brought us into the profession in the first place.”

Teaching concepts and techniques at Clemson University

JDG Teaching Clemson Architecture

After a year of virtual learning, Byron Jefferies now teaches Clemson architectural students in person, which includes small-scale bamboo construction projects.

Byron had been out of school for a year when Clemson asked him to come back to teach second-year design studio. His students learn how to draw plans and elevations correctly. They also do hands-on construction, designing and crafting bamboo structures for shade, seating and circulation. It’s an intense, fast-paced schedule. Students have to design quickly and then reflect on lessons learned for the next project. They learn to develop their ideas through sketches, models and presentations.

“It’s rejuvenating to help students work through complex production,” Byron says. He also wants to represent people of color, as they’re under-represented in schools and the profession. Byron’s personal experience made him realize that a lack of representation can lead to students of color feeling “othered” and eventually leaving school. “It’s an intense program for all students, especially when you don’t have experience with CAD or rendering,” he notes. “And it’s good for all students, especially those of color, to have a positive representation of how people of color can succeed in this profession.” As one of the only black architecture professors at the school, Byron believes that his purpose in architecture extends far beyond the bricks and mortar of buildings. He wants to make the profession more inclusive and equitable.

Inspiring architectural students at the Governor’s School

A Governor’s School student during a crit to review initial study models (he was actually much more excited than he looks).

Luke’s students are talented and motivated, as you’d expect in a Governor’s School class. They show up ready to work and learn. The architecture class builds on the knowledge base these students are developing in their other classes. They focus on the architectural drawing conventions, three-dimensional design and the many layers that go into making a building. Students have a substantial amount of technical information to absorb while integrating an iterative design process. In addition to the technical instruction, Luke wants to show his class how architecture affects people.

The class works on rendering and physical models, to develop an understanding of the way the built environment comes together. “I want my students to see architecture’s collaborative nature — the back and forth of the creative process,” Luke says. “This is my first semester at the Governor’s School, so it’s on the fly and I’m learning too. I’m helping these students lay a foundation for learning and growth.”

Architecture and teaching both emphasize values

Scott Johnston says “Architecture is a celebration of what we value most.” The firm has always emphasized the values that inform restorative design and we look for people who share those values. We’re proud to see Byron and Luke inspiring architectural students. And we applaud the way their instruction combines technical excellence with a commitment to social justice and equitable communities.

You can read more about the Governor’s School here and Clemson’s School of Architecture here.

If you share our values and you’d like to work with us, drop us a line.

JDG Teaching Clemson Architecture
JDG Teaching Clemson Architecture
JDG Teaching Clemson Architecture

Clemson images courtesy of Vincent Cuffee.

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