Architecture students help create construction plans

Puneet Kollipara

As Washington University prepares for future construction projects on the South 40, a group of architecture students has become a significant and important voice in the planning process.

According to Justin Carroll, dean of students and assistant vice chancellor for students, in making decisions on how to design the new layout for the South 40, student input has been important and useful.

“We will, to the best of our ability, incorporate some of their ideas into future plans,” said Carroll

In January, Carroll made a presentation at a Student Union Senate meeting about future plans for the South 40 and allowed senators to provide their input on the plans.

After the meeting, two senators from the School of Architecture, sophomore Kate E. Gallagher and freshman Brett Simon asked Carroll to meet with a group of students.

“After Dean Carroll presented the preliminary plans for the South 40 to the Senate, we were interested in trying to see how those were progressing and to make sure there was student input,” said Gallagher.

One of the architects working on the project, seven architecture students (including Gallagher and Simon) and Carroll met a few weeks ago. According to students who attended the meeting, the architect presented plans for the future of the South 40 and took questions and input from the students.

According to Simon, some of the more important issues they focused on in the meeting included making sure that the designs “can encourage social interaction and also incorporate sustainable practices, sustainable design, sustainable programming, to make it easy for students to live sustainably.”

Other important issues for the students included green spaces around the buildings, the architectural design of the buildings and the layout of suites in the new dorms.

According to Gallagher, some students expressed interest in having common rooms in the middle of hallways instead of the end of hallways, shorter hallways and special devices in the dorms to help monitor electricity and water usage.

Freshman architecture student Daniel Tish (who attended the meeting with Carroll), Simon and two other freshmen meeting attendees are members of the same section of a two-semester discussion class required of all freshman architecture students.

According to Tish, the discussion class, a supplement to architecture students’ studio class, is designed to encourage students to weigh issues associated with a topic of their choice and come up with a cohesive architectural idea.

Tish and Simon’s discussion section decided to focus on dormitories. The issues discussed in their class included energy wastage, social aspects of dorm life and environmental sustainability.

“We picked something familiar to us,” said Tish. “We knew a lot about it, we knew what was important in a dorm, we knew kind of all the ins and outs, things that made them better, things that made them worse. So we thought that that was a good vehicle for us to design.”

The ideas examined in Tish and Simon’s discussion class provided many of the ideas that they would later recommend to Carroll in their meeting with him.

“We were just brainstorming these ideas and all these things that are really important to us, and Brett had the connection to Dean Carroll and these guys who were making the plans,” said Tish.

Carroll said that architectural plans for the new buildings have not yet been completed, but he has incorporated much of the students’ input into the plans. He and the students encourage other students to voice their input and want other students to get involved in the planning process.

In addition to surveying students, Carroll has also entertained the idea of putting up boards in the Wohl Center for people to comment.

“Once we get to the point where it’s pretty definite what it’s going to look like, we’ll put these boards up in the Wohl Center,” said Carroll. “Anybody can just walk up to them. We’ll leave them there for comment, or actually have some of the architects present so people can ask questions if they’re curious.”

The students are also planning another meeting with Carroll within the next month.

The meeting may also include representatives from environmental groups like Green Action.

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