Not every university laboratory fits the image of scientists in lab coats hunched over microscopes, on the verge of the next medical breakthrough. Some research labs place students in the heart of real-world environments where their work moves into practical application, like the nuts and bolts of community planning and design.
The Center for Architecture and Urban Studies, also known as Urban Studio, is a teaching and outreach program of Auburn’s College of Architecture, Design and Construction. The unique learning environment immerses students in the rich “laboratory” of downtown Birmingham. Their projects focus on community development and urban planning, offering real-world design solutions that enrich both students and the community. Through their work in the Urban Studio, students learn how their designs can contribute to the development of beautiful and functional places.
On Tiger Giving Day, Feb. 21, 2017, donors helped Urban Studio raise more than $12,000.
Urban Studio is using the Tiger Giving Day gifts to purchase updated equipment, including a new plotter, or drafting printer, to print better quality drawings and renderings for their innovative design work in Birmingham.
“The new plotter will help students demonstrate their work and explain how their ideas can transform into city growth and development,” said Urban Studio’s administrative director, Jennifer Cloe. “This equipment will help the studio and students continue their innovative work in the city of Birmingham in the best possible way.”
In addition to presenting to their professors, students continually review their work with community stakeholders, including professional architects, developers, city planners, and lay people.
The program takes advantage of opportunities for collaboration within a vibrant urban professional community. Some of the student projects have become actual developments within the city, including Railroad Park and the Rotary Trail.
Long-term goals of the program are to maintain the design work students do in Birmingham and eventually bring students from other disciplines within CADC to use the studio space and grow Auburn’s presence in Birmingham.
These goals will require more updated equipment — new scanners, another 3-D printer, and even a drone for overhead shots of student work sites.