An innovative architecture studio course has been recognized with a 2023 Timber Education Award

An innovative architecture studio course has been recognized with a 2023 Timber Education Award

Rendering courtesy of John Fullan

UDBS AR Home Lab: Street Legal, an advanced studio course delivered by two AU faculty members, was recently recognized as one of five winners of the 2023 Timber Education Award. This diagram depicts the workforce housing prototype as it would appear in Water fill site in northwest Arkansas.

A studio course was recently recognized by two U of T faculty members as one of five winners of the 2023 Lumber Education Award. The award is given through the Softwood Lumber Board and the Association of Schools of Architecture.

“UDBS AR Home Lab: Street Legal” is an advanced studio in the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design taught during the spring 2023 semester by John Fullan, professor and chair of the Department of Architecture, and Candace Adams, assistant professor of architecture, through the Design Build Studio. Urban at school.

Street Legal is the fourth in a series of sequential courses examining affordable housing options within Arkansas and across the country. Students in the studios researched the issue of affordable housing and interacted with community members and local organizations to consider social and economic realities as essential components of their design process.

“Congratulations to John Fullan, Candy Adams and all the others involved in shaping the pedagogy that has led to our nationally award-winning studio series,” said Peter McKeith, dean of the Fay Jones School. “This recognition confirms our work as a leading school in innovative curricula and confirms our position in the country as a leading school for the future of low carbon design. UDBS’s work under Professor Fullan’s leadership has been exceptional, and the impact of this work has been evident both locally and now nationally. Once again Congratulations!

Timber Education Award

ACSA awards a Timber Education Award to courses that create a stimulating, evidence-based environment for learning about timber. The winning courses provide students with the knowledge and design skills to achieve green building objectives on a range of project types.

“The Wave Layered Timber technology used in this workforce housing promises to address a wide range of considerations,” Fullan said. “Besides being innovative in terms of its material and structural capabilities, it provides the opportunity for low-barrier job skills training that can support living wage employment for the much-needed workforce in this region. Large-volume timber construction typically requires heavy equipment and advanced skill sets. This system can be created by combining individual panels one by one, meaning novice crews can be employed in assembling the structure.Our students, many of whom are building on a full scale for the first time, are able to concretely demonstrate the benefits of the system in application – complementing efforts in the design.”

Since arriving at AU in 2019, Fullan has focused on the need for and possibilities for affordable housing. This work — part of what attracted him to the Fay Jones School — was done through the Urban Design Build Studio AR Home Lab, which operates out of a school facility in the UCLA Arts and Design District in South Fayetteville.

With nearly 19 million acres of forested land in Arkansas making up approximately 57% of its land cover, architectural design that utilizes wood and wood construction provides a significant opportunity to impact the state’s economy. Urban Design Build Studio began exploring innovative mass timber techniques that take advantage of the abundance of wood products available within the state.

Street Legal Studio

Street Legal’s advanced design and construction studio improved a prototype house by actually working with building materials, specifically undulating layered timber – a new mass timber technology developed in Scandinavia by WLT Capital. The school has entered into a licensing agreement with WLT Capital and will be the first to use it in the United States. Street Legal marks the move to use this wave layered timber for the first time in this country.

Wavy layer lumber is based on the use of standard lumber that is run through a planing machine, forming a wavy surface. These panels are then stacked together, fitting the waveform of the pieces together. These fully assembled wood elements are designed to “disassemble”, reducing construction waste and enhancing the reusability of treated wood.

The studio focuses on improving the final design through the implementation of construction documentation, physical manipulation of materials, and project implementation. Students began the semester by analyzing the design and developing plans to produce, assemble, and implement cohesive materials for the home. Students worked with faculty, consultants, and Urban Design Build Studio partners to estimate, measure, and analyze building strategies and assemblies. Important partners supporting these housing initiatives and the use of innovative timber technologies include the Walton Family Foundation and the Walton Personal Philanthropy Group, both of which are interested in new approaches to addressing the region’s housing crisis. Another partner, OZK Bank, helps families finance their homes.

Of the 18 students in the spring 2023 studio, 10 were seniors. They document their process through videos, construction documents, and scale models—all resources available to anyone to learn the process.

The judging panel selected five courses to receive a cash award and support to lead the course at the host institution over the next two years. In addition, the jury selected two courses to receive honorable mention for influential courses. The winning course proposals were presented at the 2023 ACSA/AIA Intersections Research Conference: Economics of Materials at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in October.

Faye Jones’s Spring 2023 Street Legal Studio students included Rob Carrigan, Matthew Findley, Zachary Kress, Austin Phillips, Carson Shank, Lindsay Shipley, Joe Williams, all fourth-year students at the time (and now fifth-year students), Joshua Amaya, and Lindsay Anderson, Greg Azlin, Milo Barnes, Eva Buesa, Alexander Cooper, Trace Donaldson, Brooke Harper, Derek Jepsen, Harley Marwe, and Brett Sorters, all fifth-year students at the time (and now graduates of the program).

About softwood board: The Softwood Lumber Board is an industry-funded initiative created to promote the benefits and uses of softwood products in exterior, residential and non-residential construction and to increase demand for softwood lumber products and appearance. Through strategic investments in pro-wood communications, standards development, design and engineering assistance, research, demonstrations and partnerships, the organization seeks to make softwood the material choice of choice both economically and environmentally.

About ACSA: The mission of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture is to lead architectural education and research. Founded in 1912 by 10 members, ACSA is an international association of schools of architecture that prepares future architects, designers and change agents. Full membership includes all accredited professional degree programs in the United States and Canada, as well as international schools and two- and four-year programs. Together, ACSA schools represent approximately 7,000 faculty who educate more than 40,000 students. ACSA seeks to empower faculty and schools to teach increasingly diverse students, expand disciplinary influences, and create knowledge to advance architecture.

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