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As an experienced licensed architect, Roderick Fluker, an associate professor in the Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science, is influencing and advancing his students’ understanding of opportunities available to them as architecture and construction management professionals.
Laying a foundation
Fluker, a 1993 Tuskegee graduate who went on to earn a master of architecture degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1995, calls the past 15 years teaching at his alma mater “rewarding.”
“I would sum up my overall experience at Tuskegee as exciting and worthwhile,” he explained. “It’s been rewarding to help students prepare for their careers. Students in our programs are able to learn from faculty members who have worked on renowned construction projects.”
Since returning, Fluker has taught classes in design studio, environmental control systems, and electric courses, and has served as an advisor to fourth- and fifth-year majors while they completed their thesis and professional practice.
Recruited to teach at Tuskegee by one of his former professors, Fluker describes his second round being on the Tuskegee campus as a personal experience — one that only alumni would understand.
“To be able to come back to your alma mater and work with the next generation of architects makes me proud to know that I’m influencing them. It makes me reflect on my own personal experiences as an undergrad,” he noted.
“I consider myself fortunate to be able to work here, especially since some of my former teachers are still here. That demonstrates that we are remaining true to our mission, all while providing the best education and professional training to our students,” he continued.
Incorporating a practitioner’s perspective
Fluker brings a researcher’s and practicing professional’s perspective to his teaching. As a registered and LEED-credentialed architect, he has worked with top construction firms. He combines that experience through his teaching with his own personal research on the history of Tuskegee’s campus and its development as a National Historic Site, and his study of ecology and resilience in small towns and rural environments – including comparative studies between the United States and Japan.
“I’ve been sharpening my skills by focusing on research,” he explained. “Research is an excellent way to engage our academic programs, as it provides a better means to understanding what’s new and developing within the industry.”
In addition to research, Fluker has written a chapter in the Modernism and American Mid-20th Century Sacred Architecture, which outlines the expressive design for Tuskegee’s chapel. After a fire in 1957 completely destroyed the original chapel, the current chapel was rebuilt in the same site. It was designed by famed architect Paul Rudolph and the African-American firm of John A. Welch and Louis Fry (both of whom were former Tuskegee Institute faculty members).
“The chapter highlights how Tuskegee developed a vison for its campus – one that was progressive through its architectural identity. The chapel is a dramatic sanctuary filled with natural light from above – a modernist design that has always been noteworthy,” Fluker said.
Designing a new landmark
Currently, Fluker is employing his architectural experience to co-design a new terminal at nearby Moton Field Municipal Airport. The $550,000, 2,910-square-feet facility, Fluker noted, will also include a parking side and runway side, open lobby area with walls for maps, an office area, a pilots’ lounge, and several other amenities.
“When thinking about this design, I wanted to incorporate something that would be feasible and attractive for Moton Field. It is my hope that the community and tourists will be happy with the design,” he added.
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