SAC Architecture Program Observes 60th Anniversary

April 30, 2018

Russell Guerrero

On a beautiful, cool spring evening, more than 100 people showed up to the Chance Academic Center (CAC) to celebrate the 60 th  anniversary of the San Antonio College Architecture program. To mark the occasion, students from four Design II studios had collaborated on an artwork that was installed on the second floor of the CAC atrium. 

The mood was buoyant as SAC architecture alumni reconnected with professors in the program as well as with each other. Members of the San Antonio chapter of the American Institute of Architects were also on hand to recognize the program that helped launch the careers of many colleagues. And students were happy for the chance to meet established architects to gain advice about career and academic options.

The anniversary reception displayed the reason the Architecture program was enjoying marking its 60 th  year - the people connected to the program are a tight knit community.   

"People are incredibly loyal," said Dwayne Bohuslav, program coordinator for the SAC Architecture program, adding that being a small program has helped foster a family atmosphere of support.

Speaking a few days after the 60 th  anniversary celebration, Bohuslav talked about the reasons the SAC architecture program has students actively recruited by universities across the country and why architecture firms hold the SAC program in high regard.

Bohuslav first taught at SAC after spending five years at the architecture program at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He said he immediately noticed a difference. "I was amazed by how effective, strong and engaged the program was in teaching," he recalled.

This included a commitment to teaching students both modeling and graphics - hand drawing - as well as theory. As programs at other universities move to an all-digital curriculum, SAC is still teaching students how to use pencil and paper as well.

Isabel Garcia, professor of architecture at SAC, said firms prize architects who can draw by hand. "They want our students," she said. "The skills we give our students are the skills being sought after in the workplace. We really believe that both sketching and graphics are a necessity because both teach hand-eye coordination and an understanding of spatial relationships that a computer can't teach."

In addition, the SAC program offers a rigorous two-year program that prepares students to transfer to a university, where they usually exceed expectations.

For more than a decade, the dean at the Texas Tech College of Architecture has been recruiting SAC students to transfer. "He has also told schools across the country that the best foundation program is right here," said Bohuslav. "He actually changed the Texas Tech foundation to better align with SAC's program."

The School of Architecture at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York has also encouraged SAC students to transfer to their campus where they can receive a master's degree.

But perhaps the biggest strength of the architecture program are the professors who inspire their students and alumni.

"I am teaching here because I passionately believe in what we do," said Garcia.