Jassen Callender is concerned with broad relationships between seemingly diverse aspects of the practices of making and perceiving architecture. These concerns have prompted a rather unique path. In the mid-‘90s and early ‘2000s, Callender worked with three firms on several award-winning projects. Still an occasional practitioner, as well as painter and writer, he is a member of both the Society of Architectural Historians and a regional board member of the US Green Building Council. Callender’s educational background underscores this range of interests and concerns, from undergraduate training in both architecture and philosophy (1987-1994; Bachelor of Architecture, 1994) to graduate work in painting, sculpture, and art history leading to a Master of Fine Arts degree in 2001. Today he teaches advanced design studios, Theory of Urban Design, and advises thesis students while directing the School of Architecture’s 5th Year Program in Jackson, Mississippi, USA.
At first glance, Callender’s subsequent research seems varied in equal measure – presentations and publications ranging from beginning design pedagogy, to phenomenological studies of desire, to analyses of the role of perception and value systems in the success of sustainable urbanism, to questioning the impact of shifts from meaning to information paradigms on the evolution of architecture theory and practice. All of these activities, however, aim at deepening our understanding of what it means when we say that we understand or experience architecture and the urban fabric.