Chance to mix art and architecture big draw for VABE students

To Chris Zahaluk, architecture is a pure art form that goes far beyond the pragmatic functionality of designing useful buildings.

“Every time I do a project, (visual art) is the first thing I turn to as a source of inspiration,” said Zahaluk, a third year student in Visual Arts and the Built Environment (VABE) and a member of that program’s charter class.  “That’s how I integrate creativity into my work. You design spaces for the people who are going to be using them, but it’s not just a building. It’s a whole lot more than that.”

This week, Zahaluk and the four other students from the class are hosting Point of Egress, a public exhibition of their work at the School of Visual Arts Lebel gallery at the corner of Huron Church Road and College Ave. Tomorrow is the final day of the show, and there will be a reception from 6-9 p.m. this evening which is open to the public.

The program, which is based in the visual arts school here, shares expertise and resources with the School of Architecture at the University of Detroit Mercy. Besides their regular course load here, students cross the border almost daily attending classes on both sides in such subjects as architectural design, art history, contemporary art, visual culture, construction, and environmental technology.

Zahaluk, who grew up in Windsor and graduated from Kennedy Collegiate, said he hopes to be an architect one day, but also has a real passion for art, so for him, the program was a perfect fit. He learned about it through Veronika Mogyorody, the program’s coordinator and the university’s Assistant Provost and Academic Architectural Advisor.

“I had an interest in architecture,” said Zahaluk, who curated this week’s show. “I met with Veronika and she explained the dynamics of the program and the combination of visual arts and architecture just really appealed to me.”

Dr. Mogyorody, who has been intimately involved with the design process for the university’s medical school building, the new Centre for Engineering Innovation and the downtown armouries, said it seems like only yesterday that the program was launched.

“It is hard to believe it’s been almost three years since our VABE program first began,” she said. “This show is the culmination of our students’ work and marks the first one for the program, so it really is a momentous occasion.”

Mogyorody said the show is also part of the adjudication and review process that helps determine whether students continue in the architectural program at UDM for their fourth year. At the end of their third year, students have the option to continue at UWindsor for another year to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, or can apply to UDM to earn a Bachelor of Science in Architecture.

Zahaluk said he and his classmates have applied for the UDM option and should find out this month whether they have been accepted.