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The University of Kansas architecture students actually build houses
by Katy Purviance on 01/08/11 @ 03:12:15 pm
Categories: Grad School | 286 words | 3956 views

After my own experience in architecture school, I’ve found a lot of similar stories from a lot of other students at a lot of other schools:

Most architecture students do not learn how to build in school. They don’t learn how different parts of a building fit together. They learn how to make pretty pictures on their computer screens.

Architecture students in Studio 804 at the University of Kansas, get this, actually build a house.

[How jealous are you right now?]

There’s resentment in Rockhill’s voice when he says he never got this kind of hands-on training when he was in architecture school. “The public would be amazed at how detached architectural education has been from the reality of building,” he says. Lectures and computer work dominate curriculum. Internships get students out of the classroom but generally slot them into the cubicle farms of architectural firms to grow into what Rockhill says is an entire generation of ill-prepared professionals. Because they don’t understand the literal nuts and bolts of construction, they pass the buck to the contractors. “A lot of architects are basically just good at covering their asses,” Rockhill says. “They don’t know what they’re doing.”

Read the whole article about what one school is doing right.

Jared Eder, a 2009 graduate of Studio 804 who now works at Ellerbe Becket in Kansas City, is among the students who have been lured to KU by the program. “I was sick of the ‘paper architecture’ route of the more traditional paths to a master’s,” he tells The Pitch in an e-mail. “There comes a time when you need to step away from the computer and all the ‘photo-realistic’ renderings and make something, put your money where your mouth is.”

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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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