Instructor Byron Mouton
Every fall, as part of the ongoing development of a growing body of work, students in the URBANbuild studio are tasked with designing and producing a professional set of construction documents for a dwelling that they will have the opportunity to build in New Orleans the following spring. While the program’s design objectives may have a slightly different practical focus each year, the studio always emphasizes considerations that transcend practicality, such as spatial definition and hierarchy, formal composition, massing, proportion, and other aesthetic and psychological issues. Many of the city’s common dwelling types possess positive, time-proven qualities of scale, light, texture and climatic response worth tapping into. The studio’s research agenda thus does not suggest the replacement of common housing typologies; rather, it is proposed that students study the familiar in pursuit of progress. Analysis of existing typologies of the context, both old and new, in addition to recent proposals, realized and unbuilt, informs initial schematic proposals. Through collaboration with a local non-profit organization committed to rebuilding community, housing strategies are developed as “infill” components in the existing urban fabric, with careful consideration of the cultural priorities and the physical needs of the neighborhoods to which URBANbuild contributes. Students work at the scale of dwelling and fabrication with a focus on social expectations, material issues, and the potential proliferation and multiplication of proposed design strategies.
At the outset of each fall term, studio members investigate neighborhood contexts, common local dwelling types, and regional and international case studies in order to develop options for an identified site. As qualities of students’ individual proposals are compared, student teams are designated in pursuit of shared interests. The teams develop several proposals for presentation at a midterm review attended by peers, professors, and community representatives. Reviewers examine potential connections to the urban context, address the ability of proposals to provide for the needs of today’s homeowners, assess environmental responsibility of each proposal, and–most importantly–evaluate the affordability of each scheme. After the review, studio members select one scheme to advance for permitting and construction, and students spend the second half of the semester preparing construction documents for submission to the city’s Office of Safety and Permits. Because of the accelerated pace of the design studio semester, this construction documents phase is a hybrid of design development and construction document preparation. While some students develop drawings for permitting, others build and test material assembly mockups. Plans, sections, elevations, and details are produced, and students compile a complete set of documents adhering to the standards of the profession. All students will participate in the final development of a shared portfolio of studio activities. Through the course of the studio, students progress from working independently to, ultimately, working collectively in pursuit of shared goals.
Instructor Byron Mouton
In the culmination of efforts initiated each fall in the URBANbuild design studio, every spring, build studio members are charged with the physical construction of the previous term’s studio’s final, permitted design. Members of the original design team are often joined by colleagues who have spent the fall term abroad; the new spring students offer a fresh perspective on the project their peers designed. Working at the scale of dwelling and fabrication, spring students focus on material issues and on the development of fabrication details through the realization of a built project. Design/build activities are carefully coordinated in effort to satisfy the requirements of three courses: DSGN 4200 (Design Studio), APFC 4320 (Professional Concerns), and ATCS 6320 (URBANbuild Technologies). While a dwelling prototype has been developed for construction in the prior semester, many material options are still considered, and fabrication details are further mocked up and tested during the actual build. Each term’s topic of research allows studio participants to address and solve problems of coordination and construction at varying scales. As numerous substantial projects have been designed and constructed by the URBANbuild program, students continue to build upon the lessons offered by past accomplishments.
Quality of craft and care in execution are emphasized throughout the course; students are instructed in the safe use of power tools and effective construction techniques. Students also record and document revisions and developments of the scheme through the careful maintenance of a record set of documents. Beginning with the documents submitted to the city for permitting, revisions are continually catalogued and eventually prepared for presentation upon the conclusion of construction. Design and fabrication is accomplished within a fast 16-week timeframe. Students gain “hands on” experience with materials and architectural systems while also being responsible for the coordination of group efforts; this is an opportunity to develop methods of professional conduct and responsibility. Students are asked to communicate with tradespeople, acquire materials, develop building skills, and respectfully interact with community members. Thus, in the process, students not only learn how to construct a home, they also develop skills of diplomacy through working closely and intensely with colleagues and peers. Students are required to work together toward common objectives and to respectfully hold each other accountable through the definition and pursuit of team goals.
Students are also expected to enroll in URBANbuild APFC-4320 and ATCS-6320 and will receive an additional 6 credits for that enrollment.
Instructor Byron Mouton
Construction of URBANbuild Prototype #12 – 1924 Toledano, Central City NOLA
As a continuation of the TSA’s URBANbuild Design/Build research program, the fall design studio (DSGN 4100) concentrated on the development of single family dwelling prototypes, and one was chosen for construction. Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans, a respected Community Development Corporation (CDC), has provided a site for the realization of students’ efforts.
Work and research will be conducted at the scale of dwelling and fabrication – focusing on material issues and the coordination of related trades and subcontractors. Eleven projects have already been designed and constructed by the School’s URBANbuild program, and students will continue to build upon the lessons learned by those accomplishments.
A two bedroom, two bath home of approximately 1,000 square feet will be constructed. Students will gain ‘hands on’ experience with materials and architectural systems while also being responsible for the coordination of group efforts; this is an opportunity to develop methods of professional conduct, expectation and responsibility.Full Course Description PDF
Instructor Byron Mouton
In response to recent events in New Orleans, the URBANbuild design studio (DSGN 4100) concentrated on the development of single family house prototypes, and one was chosen for construction. Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans, a respected Community Development Corporation (CDC), has provided a site for the realization of students’ efforts.
Work and research will be conducted at the scale of dwelling and fabrication – focusing on material issues and the coordination of related trades and subcontractors. Eleven projects have already been designed and constructed by the School’s URBANbuild program. Students will continue to build upon the lessons learned by those accomplishments.
A three bedroom, two bath home of approximately 1,200 square feet will be constructed. Students will gain ‘hands on’ experience with materials and architectural systems while also being responsible for the coordination of group efforts; this is an opportunity to develop methods of professional conduct, expectation and responsibility.Full Course Description PDF