Professor earns Regan Prize for interdisciplinary initiatives

Mark Clayton

Leadership in numerous interdisciplinary initiatives at Texas A&M’s College of Architecture has netted Mark Clayton, professor of architecture at Texas A&M, the J. Thomas Regan Interdisciplinary Prize.

The prize was established by members of the College of Architecture’s Dean’s Advisory Council to honor former dean J. Thomas Regan, a champion of interdisciplinary education in the built environment disciplines. The prize is awarded annually to a faculty member selected by a faculty committee from a pool of nominees.

Clayton led an interdisciplinary effort in 2012-2013 that focused on building a new residence in Bryan’s Falls Creek Ranch subdivision, part of the college’s Real Projects initiative, which focuses on including students from the college’s four departments in “real world” projects.

A family is living in a 3-bedroom, 2-bath, 1,300 square-foot residence as a result of the project, in which Catherine Florece, an environmental design student, designed the house, construction science students developed construction schedules and cost estimates for the residence and landscape architecture students created landscape designs for the home and surrounding subdivision.

“During the project, faculty contributed to college classes in different departments in which they had not previously taught and reviewed student work in disciplines outside their own,” said Geoffrey Booth, holder of the Youngblood Endowed Professorship in Land Development, in a letter nominating Clayton for the Regan prize.

Clayton also asked environmental design students to use the Department of Construction Science’s BIM CAVE, an immersive virtual environment, as they designed the residence for the Falls Creek Ranch project.

With the BIM CAVE, design students “finally had an opportunity to understand the issues between design intention and actual construction practices by reviewing and analyzing the spatial relationship of the building components of their designs,” said Julian Kang, associate professor of construction science.

Clayton’s interdisciplinary efforts also included a significant role in developing Real Projects’ Design Week, in which graduate and undergraduate students in all of the college’s departments collaborated in a one-week workshop to provide recommendations for developing selected areas on Texas A&M’s campus.

Clayton, who joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1995, earned a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University in 1988, a Master of Architecture degree at the University of California-Los Angeles in 1987 and a Bachelor of Architecture at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1983.

posted January 17, 2014