Design/Build We are Building Experience

When bricks and mortar become awareness and outreach and lumber and nails enable healthy life choices, we’re doing something right.

And when sweat on the brow is valued as highly as ink in a plotter and swinging a hammer as highly as wielding a marker, you know something good is happening here.

Through our nationally acclaimed Design/Build Program, we’re moving design from the studio into the real world by building for the public good.

Our students transfer ideas from abstraction to reality, and in doing so, they build courage and confidence. This transformation demonstrates their readiness for the professional world.

Through our Design/Build Program

  • Students get hands-on experience by building what they design
  • Communities benefit from innovation that spurs economic development and solves problems for the common good
  • Faculty explore research frontiers, leading to new discoveries

All students in our college can participate in our design/build projects. Beyond designing the structure, they also theorize, simulate, collect data and disseminate findings as part of an integrated team.

Students work within the college and beyond our walls with professionals in design disciplines and industry, which is essential to sustainable design research and funding.

The college’s design/build program provides students the unique opportunity to move, mix, lift, fit, bend, weld, polish and overall to design and work with the ‘real stuff’ of buildings.

Robert French, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Architecture

Evidence of Success

In 2016, our nationally recognized Design/Build Program was named a Top 7 Program by Study Architecture, a program of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture.

By creating innovative, real-world design solutions like Knoxville’s Beardsley Farm Education Center, a fresh-water kiosk in Kentucky and educational and medical facilities in Haiti, our students build experience and community.

Projects include:

A man and woman hold large jugs of water in front of the student-designed and -built water kiosk.

Through our Design/Build Program, we will

  • Design and build in the most environmentally progressive manner possible
  • Use completed works to measure, test and evaluate building system performance
  • Assess the quality, experience and demands of living in designed environments as they pertain to health, wellness and cultural relevance
  • Disseminate key data to demonstrate the value and impact the program holds for sustainable design research, public policy reform, experience-based education and community engagement.