The Association for Learning Environments strives to engage architecture students early on with a passion for school design by partnering with guest mentors from the professional community. These studios center around teaching a collaborative design method to solve challenges presented to designers today. Throughout the semester, students are given guided tours of local facilities to gain an appreciation of how to adapt design to changing student environment expectations.
Last Spring semester the UTA graduate studio started with a student project centered on designing a new charter school. Students were mentored throughout the process of the technical development of drawings led by Professor Don Gatzke, former Dean of the School of Architecture. The UTA graduate students’ goal was to design for a site that the city wished to see become a catalyst for urban development.
BRW’s Anne Hildenbrand, Corgan’s Beverly Fornof, and Huckabee’s Roberto Zuniga are leading the A4LE | UTA Schools Studio partnership and providing professional support to the students throughout the semester. The projects were displayed at the Southern Regional Conference in April of 2017 and the winning projects were presented by their student teams at the conference.
Following the success of last Spring’s graduate studio, this semester’s students are prompted to focus on a 9th grade center, integrating out of the box ideas for today’s facility obstacles. Their research-based studies will be focusing on some of the unique challenges in school design today, such as providing outdoor learning spaces, passive energy integration, the replacement of a traditional central library, and decentralized food services, among others.
A4LE’s mission is to generate interest and to form partnerships with Universities to engage architectural students early on in the passion for school design.