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Auburn University's architecture program uses hands-on learning to produce influential leaders

AUBURN, Ala., Oct. 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Auburn University's architecture program is one of the oldest and most highly ranked in the United States. It prepares students for successful and rewarding professional lives through a culture of thinking, making and doing and immersive and place-based learning experiences.

The innovative program has place-based venues in Alabama at the Rural Studio in Newbern and at the Urban Studio in Birmingham. Place-based learning situates students in a specific, curated context where they live on location for at least a semester, work on local projects and become immersed in the community.

"This approach encourages a pro-found understanding of the rich and complex contextual factors that inform buildings, which include people, culture, geography, topography, climate and location," said program chair Justin Miller.

At the internationally renowned Rural Studio, students design and build projects for communities in west Alabama, one of the state's most remote and economically disadvantaged regions. The program emphasizes elegant design and exceptional construction through sustainability and affordability. Since its founding in 1993, students have built more than 200 projects, including the Newbern fire station, town hall and library; the Safe House Museum, Hale County Animal Shelter and Lions Park in Greensboro; and 22 affordable homes though the 20K Initiative.

At the Urban Studio, students are immersed in the rich learning environment of the city, where their work focuses on the intimate relationship and mutual impact that exist between architecture and the urban context. Working closely with local professional firms, students participate in the design of public-use buildings with potential for significant urban impact, including sites in Lakewood, Avondale, Woodland and other neighborhoods. This approach to community and neighborhood revitalization helps stimulate economic growth in the city, while providing real-world learning and internship opportunities for students.

Auburn's architecture students also have the opportunity to gain a rich, global perspective on design through place-based learning experiences outside the United States. The program offers study abroad and study beyond opportunities of varying duration and focus in Denmark, Italy and Japan. Auburn's place-based program in Rome incorporates the participation of faculty and students from numerous institutions and has been ongoing for 15 years.

"Our international programs challenge students to test their ideas and knowledge of architecture and design against the realities of different environments and doing so expands their understanding of their discipline and its impact on the human experience," said Carla Keyvanian, lead faculty member of the Rome program.

The range, depth and intensity of the immersive experiences offered by Auburn's architecture program prepare graduates to be leaders in industry and academia, as demonstrated by the success of its alumni.

"Our alumni are leaders in firms of various sizes and a variety of locations from London to Seattle, in internationally recognized design firms, as directors of nonprofit public interest design organizations, in leadership positions for national student and professional organizations and as influential educators in outstanding academic institutions," said Christian Dagg, head of the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture. "Our many successful graduates are evidence that our teaching model works."

The architecture program is housed in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture in Auburn's College of Architecture, Design and Construction. More information about the college and the opportunities it offers can be found at cadc.auburn.edu or through a visit to campus.

(PRNewsfoto/Auburn University)
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SOURCE Auburn University