Edifying Design-Build: Towards a Practice and Place based Architectural Education

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Virginia Tech


Architecture in its primitive form enacted a relationship of making between intentions and outcome. Post- industrialized modernization has created a multiplication of complexities, resulting in a profession that has disengaged theory and practice through the specialization of the architect and the craftsman. Design-build has the ability to be an educational process that re-engages a direct dialog and collaboration of the roles of designer and maker, reinforcing the resilience of culture and place through joining intentions and built reality. Design-build projects have the ability to be an integral part of design education because of their ability to engage in physical manifestation that is fundamentally different than formal education of designing through drawing or design at a distance. Exploring the Washington Alexandria Architecture Center's Design-Build ethos as a primary case study, I intend to support this claim by providing evidence of how a Design-Build process can engage the designer, tools, methods, and materials, with the cultural, social, and environmental context that is sensible to place. By utilizing creativity and ingenuity of available resources as an opportunity for adaptation, an organic sense of place is perceptible, the place is created. Representation beyond drawing encourages one to be proactive in connecting the qualities and characteristics of existing space; this leads to a sustainable practice of continued investment in object, materiality, time, and place. Hybrid approaches to design, or the assembly of both design and building as an academic practice, are no longer insular, but are encouraged as a way to interrelate and connect the built environment with its unbuilt opportunities and impressions.



Architecture, Design-Build, Site, Place-making, Historic Preservation, Context, Cuba, Attic, Basement, Wall, Ceiling, Floor, Dream, Inversion of Up and Down, Reflection, Education, Community, Construction, Deconstruction, Ad Hoc