After the Awards : Exploring the Long-term Impact of Academic Design-build Projects on Clients, Occupants and the Public


The processes and productions common to academic design-build programs have been well documented in books and popular media over the past twenty-five years. Through these texts we have come to know the paradigm in terms of the focus on full-scale making, collaborative learning and community engagement exemplified by the work at Yale Building Studio, Rural Studio and Studio 804. A review of the current literature on ‘design-build’ education reveals a bounty of images of students doing construction along with photos of the often-beautiful outcomes dominate the published material as the mytho-poetic power of aesthetic seduction overshadows the more banal minutia associated with budgeting, supply chain management, scheduling and legal contract that equally define the reality of design-build teaching and learning This paper expands the normative skill set associated with design-build to include logistics, long-term planning and assessment. Specifically, we conduct a post-occupancy evaluation of three celebrated, (published and/or award winning), civic design-build projects from three different universities. The goal of the study is not to reinforce or confirm the legitimacy of the individual projects or design-build education. Rather, the paper aims to foster deeper, more honest discourse on the underlying pedagogy and learning outcomes as well as impact(s) and the legacies these projects have on the community and environment while also addressing the challenges imposed by administrative and institutional structures within academia.


Michael Hughes
Professor, Architecture, American University of Sharjah, Ash Shariqah [Sharjah], United Arab Emirates

Bruce Wrightsman
Assistant Professor, Architecture, Laurentian University, Ontario, Canada

Emily McGlohn
Mississippi State University


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design


Design Build, Post Occupancy Evaluation

Digital Media


After the Awards (pptx)