Training News

Masonry Camp 2003 Hit the High Notes

Journal: July - August 2003

The 2003 session of IMI Masonry Camp had numerous highlights. Marking the 10th year of the innovative program for young BAC masons and designers, this year’s two sessions also involved some high profile architects joining the end-of-the-week design/build critique. These architects will revisit with BAC and IMI this October, as participants in the “Masonry Variations” exhibition at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.

Week One’s Orange Team shows off its element. BAC members include Tom Heniser, Jr., Local 9 MI (2nd from left), James Cosgrove, 1 NY (3rd from left) and Charlie Whitbeck, 2 NY (2nd from right).
Tile instructor Bob Perry, left, looks on as Laurie DaForno from NJIT, and bricklayer Greg Robertson, center, of Local 9 PA try a new skill.

The highest achievement, however, was the impression left by BAC apprentices and IMI instructors on the participating architects and graduate students, who came away in awe of their level of training and professional pride.

The two professions work as members of the same team, with a mix of each divided by teams and assigned to a design/build challenge. That team challenge requires both professions to experience each other’s job, both in the design studio and on the construction site, when building a mockup of the plans.

BAC apprentices experience the architect’s profession firsthand. Here, Bonnie Aldrich of MI 9 shows off some of her team’s handiwork.
BAC apprentices become adjunct instructors. Anthony Nuzzi of PA/DE 1, helps Danielle Matuch from Syracuse University.

“Masonry Camp helped me appreciate more of the architect’s perspective,” says stone mason Lowell Glodowski from BAC Local 1 WA. “The studio process gave me the chance to learn and appreciate the architect’s job and what they deal with,” says Glen Bruette, a plasterer from BAC Local 9 WI.

At the same time, Masonry Campers get intensive exposure to masonry crafts throughout the one-week session: brick and block, tile, terrazzo, stone, plaster, and restoration/PCC, plus an architecture tent. For many, it is their first exposure to all the BAC crafts.

Tile instructor Bob Perry, left, looks on as Laurie DaForno from NJIT, and bricklayer Greg Robertson, center, of Local 9 PA try a new skill.

At the end of the week, each team presents their designs and a built element. Each team then receives a constructive design and workmanship critique by the visiting architects and IMI staff.

The critique phase allows team members to discuss the learning process they experienced throughout the week. The mind shifts are nothing less than dramatic. “Along with exposure to materials and methods, it was the first time I understood how masons think about the same building that we do as architects,” says Roma Agrawal, whose firm Jeter, Cook & Jepson Architects in Hartford, CT is working on the Empire State Building.

“I knew nothing about the union before,” says University of Cincinnati graduate student Heather Singerman. “Now, I have a whole new respect for what they do. It broke a lot of stereotypes.”

Mission accomplished.


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