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Featured Student / Alumni

William Lentjes

William L

Kennesaw State University alumnus William Lentjes has been named a Portz Scholar, an accolade the National Collegiate Honors Council awards to only four people in the U.S. each year.

Lentjes graduated from Kennesaw State in May with a degree in architecture and as an Honors Scholar, the University’s highest academic honor. The NCHC chose Lentjes as a Portz Scholar based on his senior capstone project titled “On Craft,” which re-examines the instructional methods utilized in architectural education.

“Being acknowledged in this way is an honor,” Lentjes said. “It brings up reflection on the friends, family, mentors and advisors who have made something like this possible. A special thanks goes to my honors thesis advisors, Dr. Kami Anderson, Professor Kathryn Bedette and Dr. Mine Hashas-Degertekin, for their help.”

Lentjes will present his project at the National Collegiate Honors Council conference in Atlanta in November. NCHC member institutions can nominate one paper written by an undergraduate honors student for the Portz Scholars competition, and Kennesaw State’s Honors Collegeselected Lentjes’ thesis – which also was awarded the 2017 KSU Outstanding Senior Capstone Award for the Marietta Campus.

In “On Craft,” Lentjes promotes looking beyond “endless mechanized production and spiritless materialism” and viewing architecture “through the consciousness, awareness and perception of a subject.” He describes “craft” as a relationship between craftsman, tool and material.

Anderson said she was most impressed by the level of detail Lentjes put into the project. He made his own paper on which to write the thesis, used woodworking and burnishing skills to make the cover for the project, and transposed his computational drafts and graphic designs to the handmade book. Lentjes showed “thoughtful attention to how his work on that capstone could be a benefit to the learning process for other architects,” Anderson said.

“All of these things embody each and every one of the Honors foundations: critical thinking, creation and innovation, interdisciplinary learning, information fluency, professionalism, appreciation of diverse viewpoints, effective communication and leadership,” said Anderson, the director of the Undergraduate Honors Program for the Marietta Campus. “William’s capstone was exemplary in so many ways and was the best representation of what we stand for in Honors.”

Lentjes impressed potential employers as well, as he was hired upon his graduation as a designer for Office of Design, an architecture firm in Decatur. Lentjes said he is “excited to learn more each day” and plans to become a licensed architect soon.

“Long term, I aspire to use architecture as a means of helping others,” Lentjes said. “Space designed with care and intentional sincerity can bring healing – or even just a little appreciation for life.”

Original story | Story written by Paul Floeckher
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  • John Valentine John Valentine

    John began his career in Architecture by attending the Southern Polytechnic School of Architecture. There he learned skills and met people who would shape the trajectory of his career here and abroad. John has been fortunate early in his career to have the support of mentors and family. He knows without that support he would not be on the path he is today.

    After 3 years of Architecture college, still searching for a path, he joined a study abroad program hosted in Dessau, Germany. In Germany, he studied at the Bauhaus, travelled frequently to Berlin and to important architectural landmarks. Libeskind’s Jewish Museum and Eisenman’s Holocaust Memorial transformed John’s understanding of architecture.

    Influenced by his experiences in Germany and his study of Corbusier, Ando and Zumthor, his thesis is a study of atmosphere and architecture’s power. "Situation 6: A Recipe for Atmosphere", explores the relationship between architect and inhabitant. John analyzed modes of design communication and created a framework to develop atmospheric space, which communicates with its inhabitants. Using the criteria he developed, he created a mode of design development that focuses on experience.

    Comcast Office John’s thesis project was awarded the Faculty’s Choice Award in 2013, the follow-up biennial award in 2014 and as a result John was invited to participate in the Archiprix international workshop in Spain. While in Barcelona his architectural horizon further expanded by visiting the Sagrada Familia. Already a year into his professional career, this trip developed his understanding of the importance of evocative and sublime spaces.

    After graduation, John started his career with Wakefield Beasley in the corporate office studio. He quickly gained respect and recognition for hard work, attention to detail and design sense. He was rewarded with the opportunity to work with the team for the Comcast Headquarters at Suntrust Park. John worked on production drawings and details under supervision. Working at Wakefield Beasley, John worked other offices and was integral to their production and design.

    1105 West Peachtree John’s career next led him to Rule Joy Trammell + Rubio. He is currently designing and developing 1105 West Peachtree. The project is comprised of a 30 story office tower, a boutique hotel, a high end condominium building, a 1 acre roof terrace and 8 levels of parking. The project occupies a key location in Midtown and has many challenges, including a Marta line running underneath. During his work on 1105 West Peachtree he has had the opportunity to integrate his thesis research and personal interests into the design. Additionally, he has had the opportunity to present those designs to RJT+R, the development team, and now the public through the YAF at the Spotlight on Atlanta, Vol. 2 event.

    Driven by the belief that architecture can and should be more than a building, John’s personal and professional work continue to focus on process driven modes of design and design communication in relationship to human experience.


    Whitney Ashley Whitney Ashley

    Having a resume that stretches locally and internationally, SPSU Architect alumni Whitney Ashley has proven to not only her employers but the current students of KSU that you can fulfill all of your aspirations and then some.

    Graduating in 2012, Whitney developed her interest in Digital Design and Fabrication while working on her undergrad thesis project which actually won two awards (Faculty Choice Award and Elected Nominee for the Arch Prix Competition). After graduating, she collaborated with a fellow student and entered into the Art on the Beltline competition. They were selected to design and build two different installations that were entitled “ Woodie” and “ Wormhole” which you can actually see on the competition’s website.

    In 2015, Whitney was accepted into Georgia Tech and pursued a Masters of Architecture Degree with a concentration in Digital Design and Fabrication. While working on her degree, Whitney had the opportunity to study abroad in Germany and South Africa. Along with a team, she helped build a theater in the Township of Langa in Capetown, South Africa.

    Origami Tessellation Shortly after graduation, Whitney and a few Georgia Tech classmates were granted to exhibit an installation that they designed and built in one of their classes. The project is entitled “Origami Tessellation” and was presented on the Beltline in 2015 for 5 months. Following the exhibition, Georgia Tech granted that the installation could be re-installed in front of the Architecture Building which will be exhibited until 2018.

    Kennesaw State University’s Department of Architecture is immensely proud of Whitney for all of her achievements and we are excited to see what her future holds! If you’d like to see Whitney’s current and past projects, please click here to visit her website.


    Mandy Palasik and Nghi Duong Living Synergies

    KSU Department of Architecture alumni, Mandy Palasik and Nghi Duong, have designed a glow in the dark installation in dedication to the Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade, taking place on September 10, 2016.

    From early September through mid-November, the two alumni of KSU will have their work “Living Synergies” featured in the Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade that will set a high bar for  future artists in the largest temporary art exhibition in the south.

    The project has an Instagram page including a hashtag for the parade (#livingsynergies), which shows the process that Mindy, Nghi, and their team did to make this project come to life.

    If you’d like to see more work, follow Living Synergies Instagram @livingsynergies and check out the Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade’s website for more information.


    Chris Stailey and Jacob Mashburn
    Chris Stailey and Jacob Mashburn

    KSU Architecture alumni Chris Stailey and Jacob Mashburn (KSU B.ARCH, 2010) founded Agon Coordination, along with Micah Childs, in May 2013 in response to the growing need for BIM coordination services throughout the New York City area.

    While collaborating together on the Madison Square Garden and rebuilding of the World Trade Center projects, these three came to realize that with Micah’s extensive experience in the MEP fields, Chris’s vision of approaching issues of architectural design with a macro to micro approach and Jacob’s ability to collaborate well across multiple facets of the construction process, their skills could be best utilized together, and thus Agon Coordination was born.

    Since its inception, Agon has tackled many highly impressive projects, including providing BIM coordination services for the World Trade Center reconstruction, the Columbia University expansion with the Medical and Graduate Education buildings, the entire Hudson Yards development, Pier 17 and the Manhattan West development to name a few. Chris and Jacob credit their tenure at the Department of Architecture at Kennesaw State University as an integral part of providing the knowledge and resiliency it takes to handle some of New York’s highest profile projects.

    The Kennesaw State Department of Architecture is extremely proud to call Chris and Jacob alumni of our program, and anticipate their many additional exciting projects and creative endeavors in the impending future. 

    Agon Coordination is currently expanding their services to the Philadelphia, San Diego and Atlanta areas. Services include pre-coordination models, coordination, as-builts, construction phase scheduling and supply estimation. For additional information, please visit www.agoncoordination.com.


    Patrick Chopson Patrick Chopson

    Patrick Chopson has gone on to do amazing things since earning his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Kennesaw State University in 2013. After receiving his Master’s in High Performance Buildings (Georgia Tech, 2014), Patrick co-founded the Energy Lab at research-based architecture and design firm Perkins + Will and returned to KSU as a part-time instructor, teaching a Focus Studio and Decom in 2015.

    In June 2015, Patrick started an Atlanta-based building analytics consulting firm, Pattern r+d, as Chief Operating Officer. Patrick brings his expertise in process integration and computational design to Pattern’s team, which also includes Kennesaw State graduates Julian Quinn, Principal (B.ARCH 2013) and Ken Chin, Design Intern (B.ARCH 2015).

    Pattern r+d utilizes analysis tools and methods to design for building energy, daylighting, and thermal comfort performance. These findings provide clients (architects, engineers, and contractors) with the lowest life cycle cost combinations of materials and technology parameters that meet or exceed operational energy efficiency targets.

    Not only is Pattern r+d making an exciting industry impact, but they are also actively involved in the community, including participating in the Living Building Challenge, hosting workshops and engaging in a variety of public awareness opportunities.

    For more information on Pattern r+d, please visit www.patternarch.com.


    Demetrius Rease

    Demetrius Rease

    Demetrius Rease is an upcoming fourth year Architecture major at Kennesaw State University. The youngest of three children, Demetrius was raised in Marietta, GA. Upon graduating from Sprayberry High School in 2011, Demetrius began his college studies at Georgia Highlands College.

    The following year, Demetrius was accepted into Kennesaw State University’s Architecture Program (formerly Southern Polytechnic State University), where he began to dive into his true academic passion. Wasting no time, Demetrius landed his first real-world experience as an Exhibition Design Intern, under Jim Waters and Edward Leftwich, at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. This

    opportunity allowed Demetrius to gain valuable experience in the area of professional architectural model making. Most recently, Demetrius worked in the KSU Architecture Wood Shop as a student assistant to Dave Peeples, Manager of Building Operations.

    “My most influential professors throughout my architecture education happen to be my first year architecture professors. Both Professor Marietta Monaghan and Professor Bronne Dytoc have expressed to me the high importance of craft, quality and experience,” said Reese.

    Demetrius constructed his model of the Design II Building for Professor Dytoc’s Environmental III class. In this assignment, the professor allowed the students to design and apply solar/shade solutions to DII’s west facade and clerestory windows. It is an architectural environment with solar conditions in which students are familiar with working. The model can be secured to a turntable, allowing for students to mimic any solar condition on earth from summer to winter, sunrise to sunset, with the slightest tilt or rotation. The time of year and day on the surface of the turntable can be determined by a horizontal sun path diagram, which sits on the roof of the Design II Building.

    “This isn't the first, nor will it probably be the last model that I will do for Professor Dytoc. Every time he assigns me a model to construct, we both benefit from it,” said Rease. “He receives a scaled and accurate mock-up model for his students to apply their design solutions, and I receive the experience and substance needed to build an impressive portfolio.”

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