The Housing Northwest Arkansas Design Studio is one of several advanced option studios taught during the 2018 spring semester at the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Studio classes begin January 17 and conclude with final reviews the first week of May. The studio is taught by guest instructors Anne Fougeron, FAIA, of Fougeron Architecture in San Francisco, Kent Macdonald of California Polytechnic State University, and Fay Jones School instructors Alison Turner and Carl Matthews.
Twenty-five fourth- and fifth-year undergraduate students in the professional program are enrolled in the Housing Northwest Arkansas Design studio. Beyond the accomplishment of housing design proposals, based on Northwest Arkansas sites, studio products will include a print publication, a webpage, and a design exhibition.
The design studio syllabus covers mixed-income housing, attainable housing, and mixed-use design concepts through the exploration of housing precedents and design exercises. Students will be introduced to the concept of “Missing Middle” housing and the benefit these housing types create for communities. Student work will be uploaded here throughout the semester.
This advanced option studio will explore the nature of housing in American cities, with an ultimate important focus on the specifics of attainable housing in Northwest Arkansas. This studio is premised on the belief that this exploration of the local and the national will provide students with the perspectives and tools to work effectively in practice both in this region as well as across the nation. This topic is especially interesting because it offers the potential to work at three different scales at once:
> At the scale of a single dwelling unit suited to the needs of daily living for individuals or families;
> At the scale of a building that is home to a community of people;
> And finally, at the scale of a neighborhood and a city, where the building must be considered in the context and scale of its surrounding uses, architectural traditions, social patterns, and overall urban form.
During the semester, the studio will look at the work of several architects and communities across the country. Though these examples work within the existing typologies of multi-family housing, they are also pushing boundaries, producing alternatives that are more sustainable, that are more economically and socially diverse, that provide more opportunities for social interaction, that provide more support for the activities of daily living, and that revitalize or invigorate our neighborhoods and cities.
In addition to precedent studies, research assignments, and short-term focused exercises, the main project for the semester will be the design of a large-scale, multi-family project on one of three sites in Bentonville, Arkansas. One focus will be on understanding the so-called “missing middle,” the mid-density dwelling types that are key to greater access to affordable and attainable housing. In February, the studio will take a field trip to San Francisco, touring local architectural firms and visiting exemplary housing projects.