Founding American School architect Bruce Goff saw design elements as catalysts for abstractions of form, materiality, texture, color, rhythm and patterns.

This week, 60 students in ARCH 4513, “Creativity Through Sketching,” led by associate professor of architecture Dave Boeck, and ART 2413, “Beginning Painting,” led by associate professor of painting Jason Cytacki, collaborated to explore these elements by illustrating the meanings of different songs.

“This exercise demonstrates the linkages between art and architecture and the connection of music to both,” said Boeck. “Goff understood the importance of bringing all creative processes together to expand the way architects could integrate this creativity with design in truly unlimited ways.”

This assignment, drawn directly from Goff’s own teaching, asks the students to develop an abstract design that connects with three words or ideas from a body of music.

For inspiration, the students listened to Led Zeppelin’s album ‘Ramble On.’ While listening, they collaborated on artworks that draw on ideas of crescendo, decrescendo, symmetry, asymmetry, rhythm, transparency, translucency, balance, accentuation and more.

“Within the arts, we love to encourage our students to think beyond the typical frames they might place around their artistic activity and to be an open vessel to new experiences,” said Cytacki.

“Working in an interdisciplinary way for this project does just this, allowing our students to learn from each other.  The wide range of student majors, backgrounds, and interests made for some neat exchanges, which in this context took shape visually.”

This collaboration is a part of the OU Fine Arts Library‘s efforts to bring together people who normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to collaborate. It supports Boeck’s desire to integrate collaborative problem-solving into his sketching course. “By working in teams to solve difficult problems designers can open their minds to unlimited responses and solutions,” said Boeck.

The Fine Arts Library regularly organizes “Second Friday” exhibition and performance events to create a space for for artists and performers to try projects that don’t quite fit at any of the existing gallery or concert spaces on campus. In September, the students’ work will be on view at the Fine Arts Library in an exhibition entitled “What Would Renegades Do? Collaborating Across Campus.”

“Dave and Jason’s idea fits perfectly and will bridge the gap between the closing of the Renegades exhibition at Bizzell and the opening of the Fred Jones exhibition in January,” said associate professor and fine arts librarian Matt Stock.

The “What Would Renegades Do?” exhibition will open on Friday, Sept. 13, at the OU Fine Arts Library. Learn more about the event here.