Architecture Receives Award
Date: April 26, 2007
The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) recently gave a Charter Award to the Division of Architecture's fall 2006 Design Studio, under the guidance of Andrew von Maur, for their project, "The Saucier Town Plan." Out of 130 projects submitted, Andrews University was one of only five academic and 20 professional projects that were recognized as outstanding. Previous studios have submitted projects, but this marks the first year that Architecture has been recognized with an award, which adds to the division's growing reputation.
CNU is an organization that promotes neighborhood-based development instead of sprawl. It believes in an active, multidisciplinary approach to restoring communities damaged by adverse conditions or isolation. The Charter Awards recognize the year's best submissions for planning projects. Most of the awardees focused their projects on restoring communities in the Gulf Coast, targeting the Katrina victims.
Saucier, Mississippi is an unincorporated rural community of about 200 residents, located about 20 miles north of Gulfport. Lying along a major U.S. highway, Saucier stands to sprawl, because it could receive displaced victims of Hurricane Katrina, as well as county-wide sewer service in the next five years. Ohio State University's urban planning school approached von Maur's studio about a plan for Saucier, providing the group with the right contacts.
In preparation for the population increase, the students and von Maur decided on certain strategies to keep the town compact. They wanted to preserve much of the rural land in the area, so they used SmartCode-based sector planning tools. In order to channel significant future growth into the town, they provided a proposal of urban design to place the town at or near the former lumber town. Additionally, they started by planning a town center on a specific piece of property. Michael Blackburn, a student in von Maur's studio and a 2007 master of architecture graduate, noted, "There's more to architecture than just buildings. There's also the environment the buildings are in, and that is also designed." The Saucier Town Plan recognizes this and allows development in the town to mesh with the outlying area.