The Building Institute is UL Lafayette’s integrated project delivery, design-build program. The program brings architecture students, architects, engineers and contractors together in the design and construction of single-family, market-rate homes. The homes are built on infill property in the urban core neighborhoods of Lafayette, Louisiana and then publically sold at a market-rate. Students work hand-in-hand with local contractors to build the homes which achieve sustainability standards such as the National Homebuilder’s Green Building Standard or LEED. The Building Institute is structured through a graduate design studio in the fall, a construction documents course in the spring and the construction course in the summer. Students receive academic credit for each course and in addition, several team leaders receive paid summer internships allowing them to accrue IDP credit. The Building Institute is not a simulation- it is hyper-reality. As architect-developers, the students become agents of change.
We at the UL Lafayette Building Institute are greatly disturbed by L.U.S's plans to tax people with solar panels! Especially when they were such a big supporter of the BeauSoleil Home. Please let them know what you think.
WHAT - A new solar tax was recently implemented for Lafayette Utilities System customers. If you have solar panels on your roof, your bills are likely to increase over $200 per year. If you want new solar panels, the new tax likely means they'll never pay for themselves.
Back in 2012, my family installed a new solar power system on our home. Federal tax credits coupled with Louisiana’s solar power tax credits meant we spent $5,000 out of pocket on the brand new system. At the time, we anticipated the system to pay for itself in about seven or eight years.
For the profession, design build as a project delivery system is growing and academic programs can provide a proving ground for optimizing and expanding this system. The community service component of Educational Design-Build (E.D.B.) sets an example for the profession by better educating the underserved public as to the importance of design. And through design build, designers sustain the design process during construction and introduce craft at every level.
The profession can learn from the Lafayette Gridshell design process. Penetrating research was performed. Students carefully listened to potential clients. Conclusions were shared, tested, and documented. A variety of design schemes were explored individually. Then as an integrated team, a democratic design constitution was established and a final design was developed. This non-hierarchical process resulted in better collaboration and team member ownership, AND ultimately a better design.
E.D.B. programs like the Building Institute teach architects to be proactive and initiate their own projects. The profession cannot wait for the public, the market, or developers to ask for better design, they have to set an example by becoming agents of change. E.D.B. programs are necessary for the profession’s own survival through better prepared future architects and therefore it is hoped that architecture firms will make greater investments of time and money in their local universities.
Likewise, University administrations must make a larger and more thorough commitment to E.D.B. Program accreditation should require design-build programs to meet additional criteria and the National Council of Architectural Records Boards should allow greater Intern Development Program experience hours from E.D.B. for interns and students.
"Unhurried building” is intended to be a rallying cry for E.D.B. and professional practice. This “build-at-any-cost” mentality, as Stephen Verderber calls it, has to be resisted. Unhurried building is an attempt to codify the methodology of building with quality and sustainability as primary goals. Unhurried building does not mean that sustainability is not urgently needed but instead that architect’s must conduct careful observation, planning, and construction to reach these goals. Unhurried building also reflects the mindset that the owner, architect, contractor and community must have during the process. Their agenda must be directed towards long-term goals not short-term gains. On a micro-level, unhurried building calls for a new paradigm of design research, construction documentation, supply-chain control, and building craft. When these processes are hurried, quality declines but more importantly we lose sight of architect’s most critical responsibility- the health, safety, and welfare of the humans, animals, plants, and environment of the planet.
When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence, that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality.
-Henry David Thoreau