Living a creative life second nature to KU lecturer of architecture
photo by: Kathy Hanks
Anne Patterson has been known to walk around town with a reproduction of the Trinity Episcopal Church steeple atop her head.
The steeple, which she created and wears for Halloween, is just a fraction of the creativity that exudes from this University of Kansas lecturer of architecture.
Patterson was recently honored with the Bob and Kathie Taylor Excellence in Teaching Award, which is one of the first KU teaching awards recognizing nontenure-track faculty.
“The recipients of these awards have demonstrated an outstanding capability to help our students reach their full potential,” KU Chancellor Douglas Girod said in a statement. “Through their exceptional teaching, they have earned the esteem of their students and their peers.”
photo by: Contributed photo
At her East Lawrence home — where flags from Scotland, England and the U.S. hang from the front porch — it’s clear that Patterson is a woman of many allegiances and interests. The church steeple sits on a chair in a room filled with paintings, photographs, sculptures, a grand piano and a lively white Labrador retriever named Doug.
Born and raised in Alcester, England, near Stratford-upon-Avon, Patterson grew up reading William Shakespeare. Because of the proximity to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, her school studied whatever play the Royal Shakespeare Company was producing that season.
“Then we would go to the theater and see it as a class, reciting lines in our heads,” Patterson said.
At a young age, she expressed her creativity through painting, sewing and drawing.
For the past 23 years, her creativity has been focused on teaching future architects how to translate their creative impulses into planning and building structures.
“There is magic in how Anne teaches so well and so effortlessly. She challenges and inspires her students to bring out their very best,” said Mahesh Daas, dean of the School of Architecture and Design.
Daas said her “inimitable wit, limitless energy, passion for design, dedication to students and ability to model independent thinking are all absolutely unique strengths that enrich our school’s community.”
The flags fluttering in front of her home are symbolic of the life she has blended with her husband, Craig Patterson, she said. The two met when Anne came to Lawrence in 1982 after winning a scholarship from Edinburgh College of Art, at the University of Edinburgh. Craig Patterson was also studying architecture and he happened to be living in the same house they live in today.
After the year was up she was hired for an internship in Kansas City. Craig and Anne married in Scotland, received a blessing in England and then had a reception at the Savoy Grill in Kansas City, Mo. Together they raised a family while she taught and he worked as an architect in Kansas City.
Because she is not on the tenure track, she has no obligation to do academic research and focuses exclusively on teaching. Summers are free for her other creative pursuits including making “crazy shirts.” At first, she just made them for family and friends, but now she takes orders. She also has had a local show of her drawings.
Everything fascinates Patterson, she said, and whatever she is doing she is fully engaged in.
“Whenever I walk our alumni by Anne’s studio, they come out wide-eyed, full of admiration for her. Some of them told me they would go back to school just to take her course,” Daas said.