The Art and Science of Ornament

February 13th, 2:30pm- 6:30pm, Utah Valley University, Orem, UT
February 14th, 9:00am- 4:00pm, Joseph Smith Memorial Building, SLC, UT

In conjunction with the UVU Spring Lecture Series, architect Matthew McNicholas, AIA will present two hands-on courses — beginning and advanced — that build on the principles of ornament from his lecture. Matthew will take students from the why to the how of ornament through a series of design exercises. Bring your sketchbook and sign up for both classes or just one, depending on your experience level.


Matt McNicholas, AIA, LEED AP, is a Principal with MGLM in Chicago. He regularly conceives and executes ornamental and decorative designs for all building types. A published and awarded artist and designer, he also currently heads the Facilities Committee for Louis Sullivan’s Auditorium Theatre. Matt is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, B.Arch and M.Arch, and holds a Certificate in Neuroscience for Architecture from the NewSchool of Architecture and Design.

BEGINNER – Class 1 – Introduction to the Principles of Ornament

Date: Thursday, Feb 13

Time: 2:30pm – 6:30pm

Location: Utah Valley University – Orem, UT

Cost: UVU Students – Free // Other Students – $5 // ICAA Members – $20 // Non-Members – $30

Class Description:  Architectural ornament can profoundly impact us on conscious and unconscious levels, yet the principles of design and composition for ornament are not well known today.  What makes some architectural ornament lyrical and beautiful and others dull and uninspiring?  What gives it life?  Matthew McNicholas, AIA, will help students learn the fundamental principles that govern successful architectural ornament.  Bring pencils and sketchbooks for this hands-on workshop by one of the most sought-after consultants in architectural ornament today.

INTERMEDIATE/ADVANCED – Class 2 – Ornament, Beyond the Basics

Date: Friday, Feb 14

Time: 9am-4pm

Location: Joseph Smith Memorial Building – SLC, UT

Cost: Students – $10 // ICAA Members – $35 // Non-Members – $55

Class Description:  Building on his introductory workshop, Matt McNicholas, AIA, will share professional practices and techniques to translate natural forms into stylized ornament in metal, stone, plaster or other materials.  As the 19th-century architect Owen Jones famously wrote: “In the best periods of art, all ornament was based upon an observation of the principles which regulate the arrangement of form in nature.”  Join us to learn how to apply these principles to ornament using motifs drawn from geometrical shapes and patterns, plants, and human and animal figures.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand how ornament can impact us on a conscious and subconscious level
  • Integrate ornament into different building materials
  • Use principles from nature and precedent in designing architectural ornament
  • Use ornament appropriately to maximize its impact on health and well-being

We invite you to join us for this invaluable learning experience. Register Today!