Student Feature Fridays

Nathan Rutberg

Nathan RutbergThis week’s Student Feature Friday is junior Nathan Rutberg who has found a passion for architecture and city planning. Nathan sees architecture as a tool to solve problems and describes it as tying art and function together in a cohesive way. His term project in Stress Management and Psychology focused on the connection between parks and mental health (his project can be seen below), specifically how city parks decrease the stress levels of individuals residing in the city.

In addition to pursuing his passion for architecture, Nathan is involved with music, sound engineering and running sound for school performances. Nathan is able to marry his love of architecture and design with his work in theatre. His theatre teachers states that, “He combines technical and analytical thinking with his creativity, which is perfect for the areas he works in at Theatre 370.” His sketches and set designs for the theatre Festival were, “well thought out, addressing the needs of the show, the feel of the piece and also trying to incorporate some historical architectural touches!”

Q: You described having a passion for architecture since you were young. What is it about architecture that interests you or speaks to your passion?

A: It’s really interesting to me that in architecture so much has to be considered in the design of the building. No detail can be left unnoticed. Architects have to consider not only will a structure stand up, but will it be functional? Is it energy efficient? Is it within a budget? Does it follow the building code? It fascinates me how architects use their art to solve so many different problems at once.

Q: Why did you choose Parks and Mental Health for your Wellness project and what was the most challenging aspect of putting this project together?

A: I wanted to tie in my own personal interest to the assignment which was to choose and develop a project based on one of the 7 aspects of wellness. I knew I was interested in environmental wellness, or specifically how one’s surroundings affects their health. I chose parks specifically because I knew from prior knowledge that public spaces, especially green spaces, have a positive effect on people. Then through research online I was able to find specifics to back up that claim. The most challenging aspect of putting this together was finding studies and data on how specific landscape design choices affect mental health.

Q: You referenced a book that you read recently on sustainable cities (I may be wrong on the title). What resonated with you about the ideas in this book?

A: The book “The Well-Tempered City” by Jonathan Rose argues in great detail how to make a city sustainable. Sustainable meaning self-reliant and resilient for the future. It discusses the city as a system with thousands of interconnected parts like sewage, transportation, public education, low income housing, tourism, and much more all play a part into the well being of citizens. What resonated with me most was how policy decisions in any aspect of the city governance could make large positive changes on the citizens.

Q: Based on your interest in architecture and your wellness project, what suggestions would you have for creating more opportunities for students at the high school to enjoy the spaces around the building? Or are there other spaces you would create for students to enjoy?

A: I think there are some great outdoor areas around the school, especially the courtyard and the loading dock entrance near the cafeteria. But I think students could benefit from having more opportunities to go outside, like being able to relax around the perimeter of school during DSB, almost like an old fashioned recess. I think it would be interesting to turn the area by the Project Adventure course into a small park and garden that could be used for classes or just to relax in. It’s an especially good location because of its visibility and surroundings.