New architecture studio study area for students

A vintage building is serving a new purpose: providing a place for architecture students to work on future buildings of their own.

Burdette Keeland Jr. Design Exploration Studio, a project-based center for students to work on miniature 3-D models, is the latest addition to the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture.

"We have our industrial students from the beginning of their projects to prototype," Adam Wells, an industrial design professor, said. "When they prototype, they can get a working design with actual fabrics and materials."

A grand opening was held Thursday for students. Inside the building, industrial and architecture students have access to the rapid prototyping laboratory – a laboratory that develops 3-D models from computerized data. Students also can utilize the laser cutter and 3-D printing available in the digital fabrication studio.

"The 3-D printer prints upward," Cord Bowen, adjunct architecture instructor, said. "The standard inkjet printer prints ink, the 3-D printer prints plastic."

Architecture junior Marcos Gutierrez said the laser cutter machine is for cutouts of difficult and odd shapes. Students are instructed to input their designs into a computer, where the data is transferred and the material is then cut accordingly.

"The people that don’t come and use it (the Studio) are just scared of the equipment," architecture junior Marcos Gutierrez said. "I find this place very helpful."

Students, such as first-year architecture graduate student Lauren Cunningham, said they are grateful for the high-quality equipment inside the Studio.

"The equipment is really expensive, and there’s no way I could afford it," Cunningham said. "The employees are really knowledgeable with the equipment."

Since her projects are so time-consuming, Cunningham said one of the best assets of the Studio is the open hours. The Studio is open from 8 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Another feature of the Studio is its energy-efficient sloped green roof, adjunct architecture professor Charles Tapley said in a press release.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System is the nationally accepted standard for design, construction and operation of green buildings, according to U.S. Green Building Council.

The Harvey R. Houck Jr. and Patricia W. Houck Foundation partially funded the studio with a gift of $200,000.

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