Gulf Coast Community Design Studio

The devastation of hurricane Katrina has left the task of planning, design, and problem solving at an unprecedented scale. National attention has been directed to the Mississippi Gulf Coast with hopes and high expectations to not only recover what was lost but to build better, more sustainable communities.

The Gulf Coast Community Design Studio has two related activities: service and learning. The overall mission of the studio is to provide leadership and design assistance to the Mississippi Gulf Coast communities. The community design studio works with elected officials, city and regional planning departments, neighborhood groups, and non-profit organizations by providing planning and design assistance. The scale of projects range in size from assisting the various city leaders with community-based planning to helping a neighborhood group or another non-profit organization with a particular building project. The common aspects of the work at every scale are a commitment to citizen participation and an effort to rebuild diverse and complete cities and to preserve and restore the unique natural and cultural resources along the coast. The studio also provides an educational setting for groups of architecture students and faculty to engage in projects relevant to the rebuilding effort.

In addition to providing design assistance and providing opportunities for student projects, the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio is a center for research. The hurricane has brought many architectural issues to light such as affordable and temporary housing, community revitalization, hurricane resistant construction, land use, transportation, communication, infrastructure, and other related areas of research. The studio provides a base to pursue relevant research and is currently developing a demonstration village to promote alternatives to traditional Gulf Coast building methods. Faculty from the College of Architecture, Art + Design and other disciplines will be able to use the resources of the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio to build a body of information that will have national importance. Part of the research will be the compilation of the many planning and architecture products, starting with the Governor’s Renewal Forum, and continuing throughout the long-term rebuilding period. This compilation will enable the University to document the rebuilding activities and provide national leadership in creating useful information for future disaster preparation and recovery efforts.

Current projects of the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio:

A House for Patience
A House for Cora
Bohn Street Rehab
Oak Street Adaptive Reuse
Accessible House
A House for Lee
A House for Lonnie
New East Biloxi Coordination Relief and Redevelopment Agency
A House for Lucy
A House for Alvin
Water Street Rehab
John Henry Beck Red House
Kitchen Remodels
St. Seelos Adaptive Reuse

View this project on the Open Architecture Network