Patrick Peters’ students are never confined to a classroom or studio. Instead, Peters, a professor in the University of Houston’s Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, takes students directly into the community. They learn the architectural process from the ground up. From meetings with constituents to hand-on construction training, Peters’ students walk away with real world skills they can apply to their careers.
Peters’ students have long applauded his methods, and recently, his peers recognized him as American Institute of Architects – Houston Chapter’s (AIAH) Educator of the Year. Each year, a committee of AIAH members selects an innovative and experienced educator for this honor.
As director for UH’s Graduate Design/Build Studio (GDBS), Peters guides students as they develop projects that enhance the community. Projects have included an amphitheater for T.H. Rogers School, an outdoor stage at Cynthia Parker Elementary School, solar-powered classroom at Alief community garden and most recently, a micro-pavilion that will be constructed at Hermann Park.
GDBS students are involved with nearly every aspect of these projects. In addition to developing designs, they weld, pour concrete, drive forklifts and oversee other construction elements. The experience helps them fully appreciate the multiple layers involved in architectural projects.
“Patrick Peters raises the bar for architecture education with his Graduate Design/Build Studio,” said Rusty Bienvenue, executive director of AIAH. “The fact that students participate in the hands-on building of a project is very valuable. When his students graduate, they will be more prepared for the practice than many of their peers.”
In addition to the Graduate Design/Build Studio, Peters teams with faculty from other colleges to facilitate interdisciplinary projects. He and graphic communication professor Cheryl Beckett have overseen award-winning student projects including ReFRAME x FRAME, a micro-pavilion built from repurposed cubicle frames for Hermann Park; Dis(solve): Natural Signs, which added signage and amenities to Houston’s Japhet Creek; “WorkingShop,” an exhibition detailing the Third Ward; and a solar-powered classroom at the Park at Palm Center. Research professor Carroll Parrott Blue also worked with Peters and Beckett on “WorkingShop.”
“I always find that students respond well to the challenges of real-world projects. It’s invigorating for them…and myself … to work with external organizations that have needs that need to be addressed,” said Peters in a recent interview with the UH Arts blog, Creative Pride. “Projects like the ones undertaken by the Graduate Design/Build Studio increase students’ appreciation and understanding of the design and construction process. They’re not making paper projects that stay on a shelf.”
To learn more about UH’s Graduate Design/Build Studio, visit http://www.uh.edu/gdbs//.
UH’s Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in a variety of disciplines. These include industrial design, architecture, space architecture and interior architecture. Faculty members include esteemed professionals in the architectural community, as well as award-winning academic veterans. Facilities include studio spaces, the new Materials Research Collaborative, computer labs and the Burdette Keeland Jr. Design Exploration Center. To learn more about the college, visit http://www.arch.uh.edu/.
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation’s best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation’s fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 39,500 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country. For more information about UH, visit the university’s newsroom at http://www.uh.edu/news-events/.