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UM group provides architectural experience for a good cause

Program allows students to gain real-life experience

By: Lionel S. Moise // Contributing News Writer

Issue date: 7/8/08 Section: News
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School of Architecture
Media Credit: Courtesy School of Architecture
School of Architecture

The University of Miami's Center for Urban and Community Design (CUCD) was born in the wake of the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history; Hurricane Andrew. The CUCD was established in 1992 to assist in rebuilding South Miami-Dade County after Category-5 Andrew devastated the area.

Since then, CUCD has become a crucial part of UM's School of Architecture, working on architectural and planning projects for neighborhoods across South Florida.

"Projects like these give students a way to give back through design," said Craig Bosket, a senior in the School of Architecture.

According to the center's Web site, the goal of the CUCD is "to integrate research, teaching and service, encouraging interdisciplinary thought and action in the area of community outreach and striving to bring that work to the collective attention of the University, community, and nation."

This integration is evident in the classrooms with the Design/Build Studio course, which allows students to link the experience of design to the actual construction of their projects.

In the course, students design affordable houses and then build one of their designs.

Students are afforded the opportunity to take their design through the city's permit-approval process and even assist and supervise in the actual building of their house.

"These programs expose you to every aspect of architecture," said Bosket. "Everything learned can be used in the future."

The CUCD aims to provide students with hands-on experience in their architectural endeavors while focusing on environmentally-conscious "green" building techniques and practices, historical preservation, low-income housing, zoning and mixed use development.

"Ever since sophomore year, I've been trying to make sure all of my designs are environmentally sustainable," added Bosket. "It's about choosing good materials that are not harmful to the people and environment."

Past local projects of the CUCD include the Carter Street house renovation, plans for a new Ace Theater Complex, New York Street Townhouses and an addition of a Fellowship Hall to St. Matthews Church.

Lionel Moise may be contacted at l.moise@umiami.edu.
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