A lifelong lover of visual art, Ellie Koschik ’17 grew up admiring buildings. “When my family and I [went on roadtrips], other people looked at the countryside, but I stared at the buildings,” said Koschik.
Her exposure to architecture began during her 9th grade year, when she took Deerfield’s Graphics class. Here, she realized she preferred the “neat” parts of drawing to the “creative” aspects. Starting with Architectural Design in her junior year, Koschik went on to exhaust all the architecture classes offered by Deerfield. With guidance from Visual Arts Teacher Mr. David Payne, she learned how to draw by hand and develop her own personal style of design.
During her time at Deerfield, Koschik has been a prolific architect, and her building designs have served a wide variety of purposes. In addition to creating multiple apartments and houses, she collaborated with other students in the spring of 2016 to plan a new health center. The group then presented the project to Chief Financial Officer Mr. Keith Finan and former Director of Medical Services Dr. Thomas Hagamen, as well as to the entire school during school meeting.
One of the most extensive projects she has worked on to date was a ski house on the Alps. Designed during the past winter term, the building was created with Xander Li ’17 serving as Koschik’s “client.” Koschik explained that the planning process was made easier by having the client give her a clear idea of what facilities he wanted. However, she did not have as much freedom to do what she wanted.
Currently, Koschik is taking a spring elective titled The City as a Work of Art, a class focused on urban planning. She is also in a directed architecture study with Mr. Payne. For her final project, she is working on a chapel for the Deerfield campus, which she described as a place that is not necessarily religious, but more of a place for people to sit with their thoughts.
Mr. Payne described Koschik as being “meticulous, precise, and detail-oriented,” praising her drawings as “very crisp and clean.” He noted that Koschik has shown immense growth and discovered her artistic side while learning how to design, stating, “Everybody can do [architecture], but some people are naturally more gifted at it than others, and I think that’s the case for Ellie.”
Koschik shared that she has learned from the buildings around the Deerfield campus. “A really important part of a neighborhood or town is for buildings work together and look similar, and I think Deerfield is a good example of that,” she stated.
Although she is not sure what type of buildings she wants to specialize in planning, Koschik’s goal is to design buildings that, regardless of their commercial or residential use, are sustainable for the planet. She recalled, “I was at the Island School [in the Bahamas] last year, and they talked to us about how efficient they are about water use, which got me interested in the environmental aspect of architecture.”
Above all, Koschik hopes to design buildings that function well, remarking that buildings “shouldn’t just be something to look at, but something people can make use out of.”