fb     ul     yt

Building Institute

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.

AO Parasol Bench

Acadiana Outreach Center

Parasol Bench

Lafayette, Louisiana


View all Projects:  Acadiana Outreach Center Projects


In the Fall of 2003, the Center’s director, requested the help of the School of Architecture in designing a storage system to aid in organizing donations; however, as a result of several visits to the site–a city block full of sprawled and disconnected structures–the students and faculty observed a terrible contradiction: while the Center’s mission is “Giving People Back Their God-Given Dignity,” the physical environment and facilities were depressing, coarse, and spiritually degrading. After an initial master plan the students immediate began building small installations which eventually led to several large scale projects.


The first installation on the homeless shelter grounds was a canopy seating element which elegantly “stormed the beach” of this previous “no-mans-land.” Where there was no shade, no seating, no generosity for the human spirit, the installation is a welcome oasis for the clients of the shelter. Its unconventional form functions as a guerrilla warrior assailing the status quo and bringing AWARENESS. It is intended that with this prototype and plans drawn by the students, other charity groups such as the Boy Scouts and church groups, can build multiple reiterations of this structure extending its positive impact across the site. The project was constructed in 200 hours for approximately $600 in spring 2004.

UL Lafayette School of Architecture and Design
PO Box 42811 . Lafayette, LA . 70504