Workshop enhances UBCO student’s dream to be architect

The trip to Pittsburgh was centred around a famous house designed by renowned U.S. architect Frank Lloyd Wright called Fallingwater.

A UBC Okanagan student’s passion for architecture led her to be invited to Pittsburgh this summer to participate in a unique workshop.

Jenna Ratzlaff, 18, was chosen from about 500 applicants across North America to be one of 10 students to take part in the prestigious eight-day workshop, held Aug. 1 to 8.

“It was pretty exciting. I was one of two Canadians chosen, the other being from Toronto,” Ratzlaff said.

“It was a very positive experience to be around a group of like-minded people who were all driven by a passion for architecture, and to work hard on the projects we were given to do.

“It wasn’t just one or two people staying up until 2 a.m. working on a project, it was everyone staying up until 2 a.m. It was a bonding thing for all of us to experience that together.”

The trip to Pittsburgh was centred around a famous house designed by renowned U.S. architect Frank Lloyd Wright called “Fallingwater.”

The name comes from the design of the house, which was built between 1936 and ‘39 and is today a national US landmark.

The skill building workshops are designed to assist students seekign admission to architecture or design schools.

Ratzlaff said Fallingwater was built over a waterfall, which was incorporated into the house design.

“The waterfall acts as a cooling system throughout the whole house, and wherever you are in the house you can hear the water,” Ratzlaff said.

She said the house was a unique attempt in its day to incorporate a building into a natural landscape, a concept referred to today as environmental design.

The concept conceived by Fallingwater’s original owners was to design a house in an urban setting that incorporated the outdoors feel of a cabin the woods.

Ratzlaff, born and raised in Kelowna, said she initially learned about Fallingwater and the workshop in one of her fine arts classes at UBCO and decided to apply.

“I had to write a cover letter, a 300-word essay about my current plans in architecture, a portfolio of my work and two letters of recommendation,” she said.

Besides an extensive tour of the historic house, the workshop participants were taken on tours of other historic architecture around Pittsburgh, made a visit to Carnegie Mellon  University, a private research facility recognized for its work in world-class arts and technology programs, and were given architecture design projects to work on under the close supervision of a university architecture professor.

Ratzlaff hopes her Fallingwater experience will help her chances to be accepted into the environmental design arts program at the Point Grey campus of UBC next year, and then on to architecture school.

Ratzlaff, known to many for her prowess on the local beach volleyball tournament circuit, said her passion for architecture developed from her childhood interests in math, working with numbers, and creative drawing.

“For me architecture is a kind of perfect mix for that and developed into a passion for me,” she said.

And her experience in Pittsburgh only served to wet her appetite more to pursue it as a career.

“It gave me the opportunity to understand better what architecture school is like and what areas I would like to work in once I graduate and become an architect. I really enjoyed it.”


Just Posted

Repairs underway to West Kelowna road after flood damage

A portion of Lower Glenrosa Road will be closed until at least Monday says the city

Rally in Kelowna to protest pipeline

Forty people gather outside MP’s office to protest Trans Mountain pipeline project

Protect the Water rally today in Kelowna

The rally will be held at No. 102 – 1420 St Paul Street, Kelowna.

Feature Friday: Is the sky the limit for downtown Kelowna construction?

City building up, not out, as high rise living becomes more popular

Free theatre performance for Lake Country families

Robinson Crusoe + Friday will be performed at Creekside Theatre April 14

What’s happening

Find out which events are taking place in the Okanagan and Shuswap this weekend

Calving season brings hope for Cariboo ranchers

Still a lot of work ahead to recover from the wildfires

Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond wins figure skating world title

The 22-year-old fwon the women’s singles crown with her Black Swan routine

B.C. pooches celebrate National Puppy Day

Check out some of the submissions from around B.C. for National Puppy Day 2018

Photos: Salmon Arm celebrates Paralympic champion Natalie Wilkie

Hometown hero welcomed home with parade, recognition ceremony at city hall

Alberta tells B.C. to stop opposing pipelines if it doesn’t like gas prices

John Horgan said he would like to see the federal government step in to deal with high gas prices.

B.C. mother hit in truck rampage dies

Family confirms mother of four Kelly Sandoval dies almost two months after being hit.

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

UPDATED: MPs Elizabeth May, Kennedy Stewart arrested at B.C. anti-pipeline protest

The demonstration is part of a day of action against the Trans Mountain expansion

Most Read