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Masonry Novices Explore the ‘Arch’ in ‘Architecture’

Adorned with their alma mater, Penn Staters work to beat the clock.
Adorned with their alma mater, Penn Staters work to beat the clock.
From Happy Valley to serious business, coaching a teammate to an ultimate second-place design.
From Happy Valley to serious business, coaching a teammate to an ultimate second-place design.
Surveying the landscape, ready to offer assistance as the mortar flies, are (from left) building construction technology: masonry emphasis majors Gwendolyn M. Wagner, of Cressona, and Nicholas E. Mills, of Tyrone; and faculty members Robert P. Gresko and Glenn R Luse.
Surveying the landscape, ready to offer assistance as the mortar flies, are (from left) building construction technology: masonry emphasis majors Gwendolyn M. Wagner, of Cressona, and Nicholas E. Mills, of Tyrone; and faculty members Robert P. Gresko and Glenn R Luse.
The stuff of selfies: After scouring the lab for a serviceable keystone to top their Gothic arch, Penn State students celebrate the stability of their handiwork.
The stuff of selfies: After scouring the lab for a serviceable keystone to top their Gothic arch, Penn State students celebrate the stability of their handiwork.
Scurrying into position and flashing a "No. 1" for their winning amalgamation, the day's winners savor their success.
Scurrying into position and flashing a “No. 1” for their winning amalgamation, the day’s winners savor their success.

More than 40 Penn State architecture students journeyed to Penn College’s Construction Masonry Building on Monday, a yearly assignment that supplements their studio work with the practical know-how required to breathe life into their designs. Students and instructors from the college’s School of Construction & Design Technologies ferried the guests among four stations, familiarizing them with technique and a variety of materials. After a break for lunch, four groups of 11 students each were tasked with crafting a project that incorporated brick, block, mountain stone and at least one archway. At the end of their Herculean 45-minute deadline, when Penn State instructor Reggie Aviles shouted, “Time’s up, trowels down!” the groups’ creations were judged – and the winners granted bragging rights for the brief duration of the semester.