A couple of years ago, 18-year-old Glenwood Springs High School senior Corey Erickson had no idea what he wanted to do with his life.
But then, his junior year, he signed up for (co)studio’s Build + Design class. This wasn’t his first time building, but his experience in the course helped solidify his choice to study architecture in college.
Now, Erickson is all set up to attend Arizona State University for architecture. Until then, he’s working on building a shelter for the dogs at Colorado Animal Rescue (CARE).
Erickson spoke to the Post Independent about his beginnings in wood shop, his previous projects through (co)studio and his future plans.
Post Independent: How and when did you start participating in (co)studio’s Design + Build program? What made you want to try it out?
Corey Erickson: I started participating my junior year, the first year the program was at GSHS. I took a wood shop course my freshman year, so working in the shop was not entirely new to me. My dad, who is a huge inspiration in my life, is a contractor, so I have been around and had interest in building ever since my childhood. I mean, what little boy doesn’t want to grow up to be like his father? I thought it would be a fun course to take in school because I had a prior interest in building, and it was a step away from the typical, boring classroom setting.
PI: Last year, you and your design partner had the winning design for the high school’s concession stand. Tell me abotu the process of designing that, and how it felt when you won.
CE: Right around the first week of school, Matt [Miller, teacher] told us that the school wanted us to design and build a concession stand outside near the football field. When Matt first told us this, I couldn’t help but think of possible designs for the concession stand we were to build. I was trapped, however, in the idea of creating a ‘typical’ concession stand — one that was not very unique. Matt, though, was soon to introduce us to a design process that taught us to think outside of the ‘typical’ concession stand and really be creative and original. He taught us to ‘redefine conventional.’ After many months of dialing in on a final design, spending class periods creating many models, we arrived at the final product. Our final product was chosen to be built out of the rest of my peers’ designs. I never felt like I ‘won,’ though. The class never felt like a competition because we didn’t design this building in the hopes that it was better than someone else’s design. It was just an idea that we brought to life that turned out to be beautiful. It did not make me happy that my design beat out my peers. What made me happy was that I would have the opportunity to see something we designed, something we dedicated so much time to, become existent in the real world.
PI: Tell me about the dog shelter you’re working on. What do you like about this project?
CE: The dog shelter we are working on now was my design and is something I believe is truly exquisite. It is a very geometrically centered design consisting of a combination of varying sized triangles formed together to create a steel frame which will be infilled with recycled pallet-wood. One thing I find most beautiful in this project is the contrast of wood and steel it will have. Two things that have such a contrasting look and feel to them can come together and create such an aesthetically pleasing structure. Another thing that intrigues me about this shelter is the combination of triangles that form the steel frame. It is truly captivating to me how these different triangular shapes, consisting of different sizes and angles, can come together so perfectly to form this completely functional structure.
PI: Are you or have you ever been involved in any other kind of art?
CE: Sixth grade through freshman year I was involved in band and played the saxophone. As of now I am really into songwriting/creating music and some graphic design. I am really wanting to get more involved with music as well as creating films, designing clothing, writing stories and whatever else I have the desire to do, all alongside architecture.
PI: Why do you think architecture suits your personality? What do you like about it?
CE: I believe architecture is very similar to me as a person. I believe both me and architecture play an important role in everyday life, but the role we play is not always widely acknowledged. I believe the general public does not have much of concern for me as an artist, or for architecture as a whole for that matter. I do believe that both me and architecture are appreciated by other artists, however. What I like about architecture is that there is never a single right answer. There are so many different possibilities and outcomes that can occur, and that is beautiful to me. In architecture you really have the opportunity to be original and create your personal solutions to the tasks at hand. It’s not like math, where there are certain equations you have to follow all the time. You can freely think and express new ideas that have never been executed before. I have a strong passion for creating, and I want to create as much as I can before I die and leave a mark on this world.
PI: Do you plan on studying architecture in college? If so, do you think you would have made that decision if not for your (co)studio classes?
CE: I plan on studying architecture in college at Arizona State University. I would have most likely not have come to this decision if it weren’t for (co)studio. Before (co)studio I was terrified thinking about what I was going to do with my life. I did not have any certain thing in mind until this class. It allowed me to see the beauty in design and the passion I have for creating. It gave me the resources to explore the world of architecture; a world that I grew to love.
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