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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.
Building Institute
Building Institute added 6 new photos.16/10/2017 @ 18:55
MODESTEhouse Dedication on Wednesday night at 5:30 at Fletcher Hall. Hope to see you!
Building Institute
Building Institute07/10/2017 @ 18:43
Building Institute
Building Institute03/10/2017 @ 14:40
UL Architecture Students’ MODESTEhouse for Habitat for Humanity
Dedication October 18, 2017 at Fletcher Hall, 421 E. Lewis St. @ 5:30-7:30PM

[Lafayette, LA, 9/20/17] – The MODESTEhouse, a 216 square foot tiny home designed and built by UL Architecture students will be dedicated and the keys turned over to the new Lafayette Habitat for Humanity homeowner on Wednesday, October 18, 2017.

Through a partnership between Lafayette Habitat for Humanity, Upbring Disaster Response, the UL Foundation, the UL School of Architecture and Design, Acadian Home Builders Association, Love Acadiana , and the Community Foundation of Acadiana, this $25,000 home was funded and will be sold through Lafayette Habitat for Humanity to an individual from New Iberia, Louisiana who lost his home in the August 2016 floods.

The MODESTEhouse features an innovative structural system similar to boat construction to make it extremely light and strong. The north wall is completely glazed with NASA-designed insulative polycarbonate and has continuous storage shelving on the interior. In addition the home has a covered porch, corrugated metal and cypress siding, solar panels, and energy efficient heating and air-conditioning.

The Dedication is open to the public, with a brief dedication ceremony to be held at 6 p.m., and the home will be available to tour before and after the ceremony. Parking for the event will be in the UL Parking Garage off of Girard Park. Light refreshments will be served.

For additional information or an interview contact W. Geoff Gjertson, AIA, Professor at gjertson@louisiana.edu/337-278-2722, or Melinda Taylor, Lafayette Habitat for Humanity Executive Director at 337-258-4458.
Building Institute
Building Institute updated their cover photo.30/09/2017 @ 8:15
PROJECT CATEGORY : Featured / Homes / Large Projects





Lafayette, Louisiana


The COURhouse is the third market-rate, sustainable home in the UL Lafayette Building Institute’s Neighborhood Infill Program which was designed and built during the 2012-2013 school year. Its name comes from the home’s prominent feature, a centralized courtyard connecting the living room and kitchen to the outdoors, offering residents a sense of openness. The courtyard is accessible through a large 10’ x 7’ glass roll up door from the kitchen, two sliding glass doors from the living room, and French doors to the master bedroom. The front porch is wrapped in reclaimed cypress wood from an 1800’s home in Arnaudville, LA. Clerestory windows and sliding glass doors allow light to flood into the spacious living room and the kitchen’s 16’ vaulted ceilings. A large exposed beam runs through the living room extending out to the front porch and exposed rafters line the living room ceiling. The interior finishes give the home an industrial feel with concrete floors, custom concrete countertops, reclaimed corrugated metal, and steel angle backsplashes. Sustainability features of the home include a 4 kw PV panel system on the roof, an instantaneous gas heater, advanced wood framing, and energy efficient appliances. It was designed according to LEED Silver criteria.


Project Delivery:

Design-bid-build (Students designed the project, produced construction drawings, bid the project, and worked with a contractor to build the home) 55% students and 45% contractors/subcontractors.


Square Footage:

1,508 sf interior, 600 sf of covered porches



$170,000 (w/o land)


Design Duration:

August 2012 to May 2013 = 260 days


Construction Duration:

Jun 2013 to January 2014 = 290 days



Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority (Financing)

Ragin’ Cajun Facilities Inc. (Owner)


Faculty Leads:

W. Geoff Gjertson, AIA, Professor


Other Faculty:

Jenny Kivett


Supporters and Donors:

Construction Associates (Contractor)


LA Solar Solutions



Nicholas Clesi


Abigail Comeau


Liran Timiansky


Barrett Bertrand


Jennifer Young


Daniel Ferg


(+ 20 other students during construction)

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