Student Spotlight: Matt Ziemer
Matt Ziemer has enjoyed designing and building since he learned to draw.
“I played with Legos and Lincoln Logs, but it was the Chicago skyline that first got me enthusiastic about architecture,” he said.
Ziemer chose College of DuPage because it offered the value and flexibility that allowed him to begin an architecture education.
“That would not have been possible at a four-year university,” he said. “COD provided me the skills and confidence to take my education to the next level.”
In 2016, he earned the top prize at the second annual Coalition of Community College Architecture Programs student design competition. More than 100 students from 13 community colleges in 10 states participated in the competition, which was open to first- and second-year architecture students. They were challenged to design an Interfaith Chapel of Peace for non-denominational worship and meditation on a natural environment of their choosing.
Ziemer’s design incorporated a series of levels to coexist with a series of plateaus found at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Wheaton. In keeping with the natural theme, his material choices, sun shades and solar panels reduce the chapel’s carbon footprint.
“The chapel design was the product of site visits to Blackwell Forest Preserve, studying the program and lots of sketching and doodling,” he said. “I wanted to reference the geological history of Blackwell’s landscape and I used the form of a deconstructed circle to communicate that concept. My final design was honed with input from my teacher, Architect Andy Joseph, and my classmates who were a constant source of inspiration.”
Ziemer would like to transfer into an architecture graduate program and “get paid to design exciting architecture.” He feels like he received a high quality of education at College of DuPage.
“The Architecture program provides all the resources you could ask for and a greater degree of personal attention than I think you would find at most other schools,” he said. “I really don’t think there’s a COD alternative. And if you do decide to enter the program, get ready for some long nights.
“I really can’t speak highly enough of the work that Professors Jane Ostergaard and Mark Pearson do. Whether it’s their contribution to the ever-expanding network of universities with which COD articulates, or the personal attention they provide students of greatly varying backgrounds and skill levels, their exhaustive work ethic and genuine thoughtfulness is an inspiration.”
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