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Students Build Real Buildings
by Katy Purviance on 03/05/09 @ 04:22:53 pm
Categories: Articles, Grad School | 311 words | 2764 views

I just read another article about architecture students leaving their architecture buildings and going outside and building something real.

Every time I read something like this, it makes me happy. It makes me happy because it’s what I want for myself.

We like to joke that we don’t get to build anything until our fifth year.

(Ours is a 3.5 year program. Not funny.)

South Africa nursery

In 16 days a team of undergraduate architecture students will travel to a township in South Africa to construct a nursery school for 80 children in just six weeks. Thirty-six second and fifth year students from the University of Nottingham, and their tutors Adrian Friend and Rashied Ali, have designed the building following a student competition.

The students are also are fundraising in order to buy materials and finance their flights. They will set off in 19 days for the township of Jouberton, near Klerksdorp which is 250km south west of Johannesburg.

The project began in September 2008 when more than 200 students entered an internal competition to design the nursery school. The brief specified a sustainable building, which took into account best practice in terms of kindergarten education.

In December 2008 a panel of tutors selected a project from one of the second year’s six units. A series of interviews was held with students from the second and fifth years to select the team that will travel to South Africa.

A series of timber portal frames has been constructed as a test in the grounds of Nottingham University school of architecture.

The project is being run in collaboration with Education Africa, a Johannesburg-based charity. It follows on from earlier building projects designed and constructed by students from Austrian schools of architecture in other impoverished townships.

The nursery is expected to be complete by the beginning of May. Regular updates will be posted and webcam images will be posted by the students.


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places where you could probably learn more about designing and building in just a few days than I did after a year of grad school

Know of some others I can add here? Let me know. Have you already visited some of these places...or planning on it? Let me know and I will feature your story and your photos here!

I am starting a new kind of architecture school. Unlike most architecture schools, you wouldn't have to submit GRE scores or good grades or letters of recommendation. You wouldn't have to put the rest of your life on hold for 3 to 5 years. You wouldn't have to accrue tens of thousands of dollars in debt. At my architecture school, anyone could come for a few weeks and learn how to build a house with their own two hands. My teachers would take skills and concepts from some of these other workshops I've listed above... except classes would be held year-round to make it easy to fit into your schedule. I would have a number of different campuses around the country that would teach building designs appropriate to the local climate. And I need your help. Can you donate land for a campus? Can you dotate books for a library? Can you teach a workshop? Can you provide start-up capital? Let me know.

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