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First Year Student Lecture

Peter Steffian, FAIA of Steffian Bradley Architects

Peter Steffian, FAIA of Steffian Bradley Architects

©Liz Linder Photography

The Boston Architectural College welcomed Peter Steffian, FAIA, Chairman of the Board of Steffian Bradley Architects (SBA), on Thursday, February 3, 2011 as the first guest lecturer in a series of workshops for new students. Len Charney, Head of the BAC Practice Department, joined Peter in presenting Boston's Legacy as a Livable City, a lecture about the development of Boston's architectural landscape and its connection to the city's cultural and social history.

Peter's lecture was part of the Year One Seminar for students entering the Academic Only Program (AOP). AOP is offered to new students in their first few semesters as an alternative to entering directly into the BAC's concurrent curriculum, which requires degree-seeking candidates to work in design firms while attending classes in the evening. It provides an opportunity for students to supplement their academic and vocational backgrounds with coursework, mentorship and other educational experiences in order to build a solid foundation for the requirements of the concurrent program.

The Year One Seminar is offered in the spring semester specifically to help students transition out of AOP and into the BAC's concurrent education model. It is composed of a series of lectures, presentations and workshops focused on assisting students in their consideration and engagement with practice opportunities in the design fields. Throughout the semester students will explore a variety of topics, including interview skills, portfolio construction and practice opportunities, with professional design practitioners, faculty and advanced students.

Peter and Len co-presented Boston's Legacy as a Livable City to familiarize students with the architectural landscape of the city in which they are studying and will begin to practice design. Len began by introducing the students to Peter's wealth of experience as an accomplished architect, committed member of the BAC community, and lifelong resident of the area, then joined him in identifying the major projects that define Boston's modern periphery."I think it is a tremendous honor," said Stephen. "Receiving the Alumni in Practice Award for Architecture has special meaning because the award comes from my peers in the design community, as well as the institution that enabled me to fulfill the goal of becoming an architect."

"When you think about the changes that have occurred within the city you really have to start with the Back Bay and look at the architecture that spawned because of that major, major change," said Len. He explained that the entire area was once marshland, and that it took the city nearly 50 years to fill so it could be developed for commercial and residential use.

Then he asked Peter to share what prompted this massive undertaking. Peter shared the reasons - the neighborhood's central location, pressure from the area's affluent residents and threat of takeover by eminent domain. After defining the city's limits, Peter and Len presented a selection of monumental changes to Boston's architectural landscape, beginning with the Prudential Center and finishing with Faneuil Hall. Maps and photographs supplemented the discussion of each site as it changed over time. "I think we started something here that we need to continue to build on," said Peter upon concluding the lecture. He invited the students to attend a special tour with Boston by Foot so they could visit each of the locations discussed in the presentation.

The Year One Seminar is scheduled to have ten more meetings throughout the remainder of the semester. Cannon Design and Drummey Rosane Anderson, two nationally recognized, award-winning architecture firms, will present to the class next week on the anatomy and structure of design firms.