Friday, June 26, 2009

Dordt Alumni in Design: Jon Dykstra

‘Lantern’ Cabin Design, South Sioux City Camp Ground; Iowa State University – Design Build Studio. The cabin is 12' x 14' (168 s.f.) with an additional 12' x 14' deck directly in front. Images copyrighted © 2009 Jonathon Dykstra.

A few weeks ago, Dordt alumnus Jonathan Dykstra, class of 2006, (graphic design emphasis/pre-architecture) e-mailed me his current portfolio along with a note. Immediately, from a graphic design perspective, I was excited to receive his well-crafted and thoughtful portfolio. Indeed, the scope and complexity of his architectural design work is very impressive. A particular project called the ‘Lantern’ Cabin, is an especially elegant design concept and had the distinction of actually being constructed – it’s pictured above. Jon was part of a design team responsible for the project and in a moment we’ll mention just a little more about it.

Also, Jon says, “Things are very good. I graduated this year from Iowa State University (ISU) with my M. Arch, which was really exciting however; I think I will miss school and Ames. Recently, I sent out my portfolio, to a whole bunch of firms all over the country and the response has always been positive. I'm not too interested in the mega-firms; something smaller would be a better learning environment.” And so, he recently took a job with Neumann MonsonWictor Architects, a firm in Sioux City, Iowa. (This is the firm that designed the Dordt College Campus Center and new Classroom Building Addition and Retrofit, which includes the new Department of Art and Design space).

As a side, one should know that upon graduation, an architecture candidate looks for a paid internship with a firm. After working ‘on- the-job’ for a certain length of time a person can take the State licensing exams, for certification, to be an architect.

The photographs for this post document the ‘Lantern’ Cabin Project, which was a 2008 spring semester project, initiated by the South Sioux City Department of Recreation with a budget of $20,000. For help, 'the Project’ enlisted a team of 15 students from Iowa State University and an additional $13,000 was donated by businesses. Students along with their instructor, Bruce Bassler, volunteered their services to design and build a cabin in a city-park campground along the Missouri River.

Jon states in his portfolio, “Involvement in this project was largely based on previous experience and as a result I took a lead role in a number of areas. The selection committee chose my design (group of three) to be built. Being the only member with concrete experience I led a team to design, construct, transport, and install the pre-cast concrete walls. I designed and engineered drawings, organized the groundwork, built and poured footings, recycled wood form liners, manufactured steel inserts, and did all scheduling. I was also heavily involved in the design of the zinc wall; in addition I was the main contact between the zinc, polygal, and lumber resellers.”

In April 2008, the project received public recognition highlighted with an article in the Sioux City Journal (click here). As a follow-up to that piece was another article – a major feature in the Sunday edition of the Sioux City Journal titled ‘Dream Project – Student Designers Look Ahead to Careers’ (click here).

‘Lantern’ Cabin Design: exterior and interior details which emphasizes the clerestory band of natural light and space. Images copyrighted © 2009 Jonathon Dykstra.

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