Kean Architecture Students Speak at Notre Dame Design Conference


Kean architecture students Robert Gallagher, John Grega and Gabriel Morales presented at Notre Dame University's The Art of Architecture: Hand Drawing and Design conference on Saturday, October 1.

The students presented the findings of their Students Partnering with Faculty grant-funded research project to an audience of professional architects at the event. The Michael Graves College at Kean University, named for the internationally acclaimed architect who helped develop the program, shares its namesake’s commitment to hand drawing as a part of the art and science of architecture. 

“Twenty years ago designers used paper and pencil; today they use computer-aided drafting (CAD) programs,” said Gallagher. “We looked at the large touch-screen table as a way to mix mediums between the physical and digital.” 

Gallagher, Grega and Morales presented research quantifying and qualifying the advantages of touch-screen interfaces over mouse and keyboard. The students performed a series of five tasks on both a laptop and a digital table and recorded the time necessary to complete each task and the user experience, along with anecdotal commentary. The researchers found touch-screen interfaces to be more intuitive and efficient than keyboard and mouse based interfaces. Efficiency improved by four to 13 percent for most tasks and an astonishing 66 percent in one isolated case. 

“The students were equally nervous and excited to be at Notre Dame but did a fantastic job of articulating their experiences with the grant," said Kean professor Craig Konyk. 

Konyk delivered a presentation entitled digital at the conference. His lecture further explored how touch-screen surfaces can reengage the hand-drawing dynamic in architectural design.

Founded in 2015, Kean’s Michael Graves College is rethinking the role of technology in its architectural curriculum. Utilizing a curriculum developed in part by Michael Graves himself before his death, the program encourages hand drawing as a discipline for creative expression and exploration.

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