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The Americas Studio 2013: Northeastern Alabama

students with the Americas Studio

Travel abroad through the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture includes a variety of options.  During the third year of the undergraduate Architecture program, students have been provided with the opportunity to spend a semester in either Rome, Istanbul, or in North, Central or South America with Sheri Schumacher’s  Americas studio. In the past, the Americas Studio has provided students with a forum to investigate how cultural landscapes intersect with architectural practice in Quito, Ecuador and in New Mexico. This year the students are staying closer to home and focusing on projects located in the northeast region of Alabama.

The students explored the natural and cultural landscape by being a part of it; they were involved in total immersion through travel, curiosity, and discovery. Students researched the complex network of ecological systems found in Alabama in an attempt to forge new connections between them. Using the methods of identification, observation and mapping, student design proposals included a refuge interpretive center, bicycle hub, café, organic farm, canoe/kayak outtake facility, farmers market, and canyon observation site that is strategically located at network nodes and routes. The landmark structures aim to provide a new framework for local and tourist motorists’ experience of Northeast Alabama’s natural and cultural landscape and to build upon the multiple networks of community-based economic growth and educational tourism.