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Redesigning Housing and Rethinking Programs through Design-Build

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Architectural Division Technical Session 1

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Scott Gerald Shall Lawrence Technological University

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Scott Gerald Shall, AIA, is an Associate Professor and the Associate Dean of the College of Architecture and Design at Lawrence Technological University (LTU) and the founding director of the International Design Clinic (IDC,, a registered non-profit that realizes socially-responsive creative action with communities in need around the world. Since founding the IDC in 2006, Shall has worked through this organization to complete over a dozen projects on four continents. Shall’s work in this arena has been disseminated widely, including presentations at Third and Fifth International Symposia On Service Learning In Higher Education, lectures at Brown University, the University of Maryland, and the New School for Design, publications by the AIA Press and the University of Indianapolis Press and exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Art in La Paz, Bolivia, the Sheldon Swope Museum of Art, the Goldstein Museum of Design, the Venice Architecture Biennale and MoMA.

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Traditional, stud-based methods of residential construction are not sustainable, from either an environmental or economic perspective. The resources embedded within this form of construction are generally poorly allocated, the materials used often cheap and, at times, toxic, and the methods deployed, inefficient. The resulting homes are resource intensive – a problem amplified by the fact that the resulting structures must be made livable through the continual infusion of non-renewable resources and most will have a sharply limited useful lifetime.

In order to investigate this concern further, several groups of students pursuing advanced degrees in architecture have, over the last two years, collaborated with experts in the fields of development, fabrication, design, construction and urban planning to, incrementally, revise the building delivery system used for affordable housing and making it more efficient, sustainable and affordable. Through this prolonged address, these students were able to bring together the efficiencies and supports of traditional construction with those offered by emerging materials and processes, including digital fabrication and parametric data analysis. The first home, HOUSE01, will be completed in the spring of 2017. Although not yet complete, early evidences are promising: the current bid for the construction cost of the kitchen and 1.5 baths for HOUSE01 is $10,000, roughly $17,000 less than the average cost of similarly scaled homes; the current schedule of production indicates a savings of over 21 days.

Based upon the insight earned through this effort, faculty and students are currently working with community partners to design and build HOUSE02. The intent in so doing is to further refine the building delivery process, more rigorously incorporating all techniques used in HOUSE01 and providing a proof of concept for the approach – all while providing students the support needed to demonstrate attainment of the learning objectives associated with the courses involved.

This paper will describe the pedagogical approach that results from this effort, documenting how students and faculty simultaneously satisfied the oft-conflicted demands posed by the long-term address required by the centralizing muse and the carefully regulated academic frame. It will outline how this precedent, in terms of both the structure of the learning environment and the insight generated through it, might indicate a direction by which we might not only reconsider the manner in which we teach, but the manner in which we educate engineers, architects and other creative professionals. Bearing this in mind, the writing is divided into three parts: part one outlines the growing financial and environmental cost of housing, which served as a centralizing muse for the course sequence; part two will describe the housing delivery process that supported these trends and served as the primary grounds for investigation within the courses; and part three will describe the approaches of learning and teaching that emerged from this investigation.

Shall, S. G. (2017, June), Redesigning Housing and Rethinking Programs through Design-Build Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28784

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