Tuskegee University students assist in rebuilding plan for storm-ravaged community
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (October 20, 2011) — Design work by a group of Tuskegee University architecture students will help in the rebuilding efforts for the Pratt community in Birmingham, Ala. The community was one of several areas damaged in a massive tornado that hit the city on April 27. More than 500 homes were destroyed or deemed unlivable and more than 1,000 residents were displaced.
The team from the university was invited to join the Regional and Urban Design Assistance Team, a group of nine national experts assembled by the American Institute of Architects, to volunteer and develop a recovery plan for the community. On Oct. 7-10, the team observed and assessed the community’s rebuilding needs through tours, community focus groups and design studios. At the end of the project, the team presented a plan for rebuilding the community.
Zachary Beasley, Brionna Catrow, Amber Dubose, Alexis Gregory, Gabrielle Riley and Phoencia Robinson were the students who participated in the project. Robinson and Beasley are from the Birmingham area. Richard Dozier, dean of the Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science, was part of the project’s steering committee and was chosen to consult on culture and history.
Dozier said participation in the project gave the students a unique chance to work side-by-side with experts in their field of study, taught them the value of teamwork and gave them a real-life lesson in productivity. Also, the students faced challenges such as designing for homeowners who only had small budgets to devote to rebuilding.
“(In Birmingham,) they were under the gun and they produced a real product,” Dozier said about the students. “In a very short period of time, they produced this tremendous document.”
Tuskegee’s School of Architecture and Construction Science was established in 2010. This year, the National Architectural Accreditation Board awarded the school with six years of accreditation.
This home in the Pratt community of Birmingham, Ala. was damaged in the April 27 tornado that hit the city. More than 500 homes were destroyed or heavily damaged. Students from Tuskegee University were invited to participate on the Regional and Urban Design Assistance Team, a group of nine national experts assembled by the American Institute of Architects, to develop a recovery plan for the community.
Students and volunteers discuss recovery plans.