With the mentorship of CED faculty, graduate students and alumni, the studios and workshops emphasize the value and reward of working on real-world design challenges.
Students learn about construction techniques through a hands-on experience in the college’s Fabrication Shop and Digital Fabrication Lab. Working alongside trained shop staff, they build full-sized structures for the benefit of a local community partner.
"It was the first time I had made anything using power tools and lumber, and it was extremely satisfying to see the final product. It was a true learning experience when it came to turning design into reality. This class challenged me to use design thinking in order to really fulfill the everyday needs that people face with sustainable solutions."
Students experience what it is like to work on their own design projects in a studio environment. With a locally-based project, they have the opportunity to make first-hand observations of the area through numerous guided site visits, which help inform their individual design proposals. Instruction on freehand sketching, drafting, model building and digital representation teach students how to conceptualize and communicate two and three-dimensional design ideas. On-site observations are supplemented with research in the historic, cultural, political and economic conditions of a project site. The studio culminates in a final design review where students exhibit, present, and discuss their work with CED faculty, graduate students, and alumni.
Students engage as genuine stakeholders and participants in a community change process by developing solutions to an authentic urban planning question. Through a series of lectures and group exercises, they learn about current state and local policies and share ideas for helping cities and regions create attractive, healthy and sustainable communities for all. The students also take inspiring visits to sites that are nationally recognized models of sustainable urban development to gain a better understanding of the story of "place" and community-building.