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Prof Keeps Form, Function in Mind

"It's not hard to make a building that's good looking," Jacek Bigosinski says. "But making it function well — that's quite another thing." When it comes designing buildings that do both, Bigosinski, a Rowayton architect, knows his stuff. And when it comes to creating a college department that combines form with function, he's been successful as well in his role as coordinator of architectural engineering technology, interior design? and construction technology at Norwalk Community College.

In fact, Bigosinski has been at the West Norwalk campus since before it was NCC. He was tapped by Norwalk State Technical College, as it was then known, to start the multifaceted program in 1989. When Bigosinski was hired, he thought it was a part-time position. "I figured I'd teach a few classes and spend most of my time on my architecture," he says. But the dean informed him that he had two weeks to design a whole curriculum before classes began.

Bigosinski's been doing the job for 21 years now and has the same enthusiasm as when he started. "I enjoy changing people's perspectives," he says. "Many of the students haven't been out of the area. When I can expose them to other places and the way things are done there, it broadens their outlook."

He was born in Poland, studied in Baghdad, then did graduate work at the University of Detroit. "People were just starting to use computers in architecture," he said. "I figured that was the future."

When he's not teaching, Bigosinski is working at his Rowayton firm, PB Architects, where he does mostly residential and commercial designs. He also gives lectures, like the one last week at Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum on the evolution of plumbing. "Plumbing and heating systems aren't seen, but they're the life support system of a building," he says.

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