When University of Notre Dame Architecture Professor Gil Gorski was a young boy, his father used to bring home colored pencils from the museum where he worked. Though the pencils were worn down, they were the “perfect size for little hands,” and Gorski developed a life-long interest in art.
Today, as the James A. and Louise F. Nolen Assistant Professor of Architecture, Gorski indulges his passion for art by teaching architecture students how to combine traditional illustration techniques with digital techniques to produce compelling architectural designs.
“Most architects create images to facilitate the prediction of what a building will look like; the renderings are somewhat like ‘instructions’ for other people who are building it,” Gorski says. “You may develop conceptually an object or an idea with traditional techniques, and then move into the digital realm to flesh it out, create more detail. There are times when you may jump back to the traditional technique to continue with perfecting the idea. By recognizing the strengths of both traditional and digital techniques, architects are better served by tools with which they can create.”
A licensed architect, Gorski has maintained a parallel career as an artist, with a focus on the traditional techniques of drawing, printmaking and painting. He has been recognized as one of the top architectural illustrators in the country, and recently completed “The Architecture of the Roman Forum” (Cambridge Press), an illustrated compilation of the buildings and monuments of the Forum as they looked in the late 4th century.
With more than 30 years experience as an architect, Gorski has designed all types of buildings: office, institutional, commercial, hospitality, research, sports and entertainment, residential, custom single family, multi-unit, and high rise. One of the most notable of those designs is the Oceanarium addition to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.
Prior to his position at Notre Dame, Gorski headed his own firm specializing in design and illustration. Combining architectural experience with computer and illustration skills, he contributed to winning submissions for a number of high profile international projects in Japan, Singapore, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, in addition to several high profile projects in the U.S., including Caesars Palace and the Milwaukee Brewers Ball Park.
Though his passion is art, Gorski’s main goal is to expose Notre Dame’s architecture students to enhanced methods of creating and learning.
“Personally, I’m not interested in architects here at this school becoming illustrators. I’m interested in them learning about the different tools that are available to make them better architects, to streamline their process of design and create possibilities that you can’t do otherwise.”