Alumni display models, photos of architecture in Glassell Gallery

Roosh Bhosale and Sara Doyle

We built their foundations, and now they’re building ours. Planning homes, libraries and skyscrapers, SJS alumni express their creativity through their innovative architectural designs.

On Sept. 5, alumni, faculty and architects gathered for the Alumni Architecture Exhibit in the Clare Attwood Glassell Gallery. Featuring work from 10 St. John’s alumni architects, the exhibit included wooden models of homes, plexiglass skyscrapers, drafts and scale floor plans.

Upper School art teacher Dan Havel began planning the exhibit in May. After reaching out to the Alumni Relations office, Havel compiled a list of architects from around the country. Havel contacted each architect individually, requesting they send in any models or presentation boards they would like to be featured. While some already had display boards from past projects, Havel constructed other boards from photos and floor plans that the architects sent.

In addition to teaching Studio Art and Sculpting, Havel teaches an introductory semester-long architecture class, which many of the alumni architects took as students. Havel recalls teaching Nick Stoutt (’97), who received a Bachelor of Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master of Architecture degree from Yale University.

After graduating from Yale, Stoutt worked as a senior associate at Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects. The firm was founded in 1977 by César Pelli, an Argentinian architect whose portfolio includes the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, the World Financial Center in New York and Salesforce Tower in San Francisco.

“I saw [Nick’s] excitement and energy in my class for architecture,” Havel said. “It didn’t surprise me that he went off to architecture school.”

Sam Grenader (’01), another one of Havel’s former students, attended Columbia University, where he earned his Master of Architecture degree. Grenader is currently an Associate at Houston-based firm Nonya Grenader Architects, a firm founded by Sam’s mother, Nonya Grenader.

Exposed to architecture from a young age by his mother, Grenader grew to appreciate Houston’s rich architectural history. The Grenaders’ work combines living and work spaces with a focus on spatial simplicity.

Since Grenader’s graduation in 2001, much has changed on campus with the addition of the Campus Center and renovation of Farish Hall.

“The scale of the original Quad was so different compared to what the rest of the campus is now,” Grenader said. “As an architect, it’s always nice also to see that contrast between old and new.”

Math teacher Bethany Goldman attended the showcase and appreciated the mixed-use residential design by the firm Glassman Shoemake Maldonado Architects. The home incorporated space for a family of four while also providing a separate living area for extended family and guests.

“It was interesting how the architect let everyone have privacy while also making it a family home,” Goldman said.

Currently, Havel organizes six to seven different exhibits per year for the Glassell Gallery. These exhibits are not always focused on Upper School art; past exhibits have included Lower School artwork, physics projects and even a timeline of St. John’s history. Havel hopes to include more exhibits in the future with contributions from specific academic departments in the Upper School.

“My idea is that art and creativity isn’t just based on visual arts; it can be based on engineering, it can be on history, it can be on science,” Havel said. “My inspiration for these exhibits is to showcase student work, whether it be from alumni or current students.”