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University of Buffalo students live in the structures they've built. Like what all architects should do.
by Katy Purviance on 04/29/10 @ 07:23:29 pm
Categories: Observations | 307 words | 1529 views

I just read about The Living Wall, built by first year students at the University of Buffalo. I’m all for students going outside and getting dirty building something.

Even better: the students also have to live in their dwelling for 24 hours. This is how students at Taliesin West do it – they build and live in their own desert structure while at school. And this is how Jersey Devil did it – they’d camp out in the building site so that they’d have intimate knowledge of what design problems needed solving. And this is how I think all architects should do it.

Here’s the article:

100 first year students in the Department of Architecture at the University at Buffalo are developing proposals to design and construct a minimal dwelling unit that they will occupy for a period of 24 hours. Each unit must accommodate an entrance, internal circulation, and sleeping areas for a minimum of three people. Individual units are placed adjacent to one another and share boundaries thus creating a party wall condition between adjoining structures where unique structural and programmatic conditions might begin to evolve.

Once transported to the site projects will be reassembled and assume their final position as a linear community of buildings, titled the Living Wall. The students will have a unique opportunity to spend a 24-hour period in their structures after they are reassembled on site. This experience will enable the students to better understand the consequences of their decisions and to explore the successes and shortcomings of their structures.

The proposed structures that you see on exhibit have been studied at progressively larger scales and various modes of representation. They will ultimately be constructed at full-scale and transported to the Griffis Sculpture Park (Located in Cattaraugus County between Ashford Hollow and East Otto) where they will remain on display through October 23, 2010


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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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