Students develop design solutions for public space near university

University Dr. model

Learn more about Design Week on the project website.

Student-designed proposals for the future development of two areas along University Drive, created by students at Texas A&M’s College of Architecture, were showcased Jan. 18 in room 102 of the Zachry Engineering Center.

The proposals were crafted by students from the college’s four departments during "Real Projects Design Week," a weeklong charrette engaging approximately 330 students, faculty, practitioners and the local community in a studio-based learning environment.

Students developed plans for two areas: University Drive between Wellborn Road and Discovery Drive, and another area bound by University Drive on the south, Texas Avenue on the east, Nagle Street on the west and a jagged northern border that includes Brookside Drive and Inlow Boulevard.

Working in 25 teams of 12-13 students, with a faculty member advising each team, participating students generated plans addressing the designated area's challenges and opportunities.

“As many as 3,000 additional residents will be arriving in the area in the next couple of years,” said Ming-Han Li, associate department head of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, which conducted the charrette with the Design Workshop, a firm that has conducted similar Design Week charrettes at 12 universities since 2003.

“A conservative projection for the next few years foresees an additional 70,000 square feet of new retail and entertainment uses in the area, adding to the approximately 27 restaurants and 23 bars already in place,” said Li.

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The area bordered by University Drive and Texas Avenue includes residential and business buildings of varying ages, municipal parkland, some undeveloped lots and student housing. The section of University Drive between Wellborn and Discovery is part of the Texas A&M campus, including the Veterinary Small Animal Hospital, the Medical Sciences Library and the Reynolds Medical Sciences Building.

Stakeholders in the two areas include Texas A&M, the Texas A&M System, the Texas Department of Transportation, the cities of Bryan and College Station and many private property owners.

Students were guided through the design exercise by landscape architect Kurt Culbertson, chairman of the Design Workshop, and Darla Callaway, a landscape designer with the firm, and additional Design Workshop personnel.

Culbertson served as principal of the firm’s master planning efforts for High Desert, a sustainable new community in Albuquerque, N.M. and the firm’s design and planning efforts for South Grand, a mixed-use, walkable development in St. Louis.

posted January 15, 2013