Alumni Launch Continuing Education Program in New England

Author: Ashley Johnston

In 1999, Sheldon Kostelecky, M.ADU ‘07, now president of the New England Chapter of The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, began teaching traditional restoration and period design courses at the Boston Architectural College. Sixteen years later, Kostelecky and fellow Notre Dame alum Aaron Helfand, M.Arch ‘09, are expanding opportunities in the Boston architecture community by offering Continuing Education courses on classical and traditional architecture.

mfa_cefacultyPictured left to right: Aaron Hefland, M.Arch '09, Leslie-jon Vickory, Kahlil Hamady, and Sheldon Kostelecky, M.ADU '07.

“After several years of teaching this program [at the Boston Architectural College],” said Kostelecky, “it became apparent to me that there was a demand for such courses in our local design community—Boston has a rich history and appreciation of classical and traditional architecture, but our schools were and are not teaching this material.”

With the goal of being able to teach local architects and students a curriculum focused on classical architecture, Kostelecky and Helfand contacted the Boston Museum of Fine Arts to discuss launching a Continuing Education program. “The Museum of Fine Arts is one of New England's foremost cultural institutions, and our partnership with them is an enormous benefit to our education initiative,” said Helfand. “The MFA has a very well-established education program in the visual arts, but until we began our collaboration, they had no course offerings in architecture.”

When planning the curriculum, the Notre Dame alumni focused on introductory skills that wouldn’t require any prerequisites. Kostelecky explained how the courses were chosen, “Aaron and I decided to start with six introductory courses in Classical Architecture, Hand Drafting, Watercolor Wash Rendering, Drawing the Orders, and Gallery Sketching (two sessions).” Kostelecky continued, “This initial curriculum of six courses would then provide the foundation to introduce future more advanced courses, as well as branching out into other related topics, such as new urbanism, classical interiors, understanding the moldings, landscape architecture, studio design, history, etc.”

“Our Notre Dame education has been absolutely essential to the formation of this program,” said Helfand. “Simply put, most of the material we are teaching we learned at Notre Dame and couldn't have learned anywhere else.  Our course offerings are, in essence, a miniature version of the curriculum we both followed at the School of Architecture.”

In teaching the courses Kostelecky and Helfand are joined by Kahil Hamady and Leslie-jon Vickory. Hamady and Vickory, who are also ICAA-NE members, are jointly teaching classes on free-hand sketching, using the MFA’s collections and buildings throughout Boston as subjects.

In addition to the courses taught by Kostelecky, Helfand, Hamady and Vickory, the New England Chapter also offers architectural tours throughout Massachusetts and book lectures, recently including Notre Dame Professor Steven Semes who discussed his newest book The Future of the Past. “Our next big goal is to develop an online program in [Continuing Education] at National,” said Kotselecky, “so people all over the country would be able to study Classical Architecture courses online, no matter where they are.”

To learn more about the New England Chapter’s Continuing Education program in Classical Architecture please visit

The School of Architecture will be in Boston for the 2015 Shamrock Series, learn more about our event “The Future is Here: Boston as a Model for Sustainable Urbanism.”