ARCH 335 creates another winner for MedCamps

A Dedication Ceremony is held for the Mosaic Art Cabin on May 20, 2022. The facility was designed and built by ARCH 335 Design Build students and faculty for MedCamps of Louisiana at Camp Alabama. MedCamps of Louisiana is a non-profit organization that provides a series of one-week, fun-filled camps each summer for children in Louisiana facing a variety of physical and mental disabilities. Photograph by Emerald McIntyre/Louisiana Tech University

Louisiana Tech Design/Build Studio (ARCH 335)’s most recent creation for MedCamps of Louisiana, the Mosaic Art Cabin, represents another award-winning result for Tech students and another winning addition for the campers, the up-and-coming artists with physical and mental disabilities who annually enjoy the Choudrant camp.

ARCH 335’s Design/Build’s most-recent project, the Mosaic Art Cabin received two Louisiana American Institute of Architects (AIA) awards — an Award of Merit and the Members Choice Award,the organization’s highest annual award — at the organization’s annual meeting recently.

Tech faculty Brad Deal and Robert Brooks instructed the 26 third-year architecture students who designed, fabricated, and installed the project over two academic quarters.

The ARCH 335 team also won the Members Choice Award for the Larkin Gibbs Memorial Pavilion (constructed in 2014), the Pisces Floating Bridge (2018), and the Peregrine Treehouse and Zip Line Launch (2018).

“We say this every time they win, but it’s a big deal,” Tech College of Liberal Arts Dean Karl Puljak said. “Many architecture firms submit work but few earn awards; our winners are third-year students. The Design/Build Studio has been recognized many times over the years by AIA Louisiana for design excellence.”

“Although we have won multiple professional design awards from the AIA and the Gulf States Region AIA through the years, awards have never been a goal or driving force behind what or why we do what we do,” Brooks said. “Rather, our steadfast mission as leaders of Design/Build is two-fold: to provide real-world tangible educational experiences for our students, and to use our talents as architects and professors to increase the potential for joy for our clients – children with chronic illnesses and disabilities.

“As leaders of Design/Build,” he said, “we have a very simple maxim – the work of the Design/Build Studio should always be ‘humble, yet mighty.’”

The studio is heading into its 10th year of partnership with MedCamps of Louisiana, a non-profit organization that provides a series of one-week, fun-filled camps each summer for children in Louisiana facing disabilities. The camps are operated completely free of charge and provide campers with an opportunity to participate in traditional camping activities such as canoeing, fishing, swimming, horseback riding, and much more in a modified setting to meet the needs of each camper. All camping sessions are held at Camp Alabama in Choudrant-Sibley.

“The Mosaic Art cabin has been an incredible addition to our facility and programs,” MedCamps executive director Caleb Seney said. “The campers have loved the cabin and cabin area, and having a dedicated air-conditioned space has benefitted the staff as well. ‘Mosaic’ is definitely a favorite destination at Camp Alabama.

“The building is both indoor and outdoor and is designed specifically to be an art/maker space,” he said, “and our campers use it to make art projects that they take home to their families at the end of each session.”

Besides the pavilion, bridge, zip line, and art cabin, ARCH 335 projects for MedCamps include an archery and paintball target range, and accessible canoe and paddle boat launch, a camp store and bell tower, and an entry into the camp that includes a gate, portal, and 60-foot tower.

“Covid shut down a build in 2020,” Seney said, “but the students put together a Master Plan for Camp Alabama that we are using as a guide as we move forward. Meanwhile, once they got going full-speed again, none of us were surprised that they came up with another project that fulfilled just what we needed, plus they won another top-shelf award.”

“To be chosen for such an important juried award (Award of Merit) is proof that the work our students do is recognized for far more than a class or a grade on a transcript,” Brooks said. “It is indeed important and meaningful work. To be chosen as the best of the best by the general body of the Louisiana AIA (Members Choice) is the most humbling of award of all.”

“(The awards are) a testament to the power of hard work and collaboration to have our students’ work recognized among so many talented professional offices,” Deal said. “I couldn’t be more proud.”

Instructors for the course are Robert Brooks and Brad Deal.

Students are:

  • Seth Bartholomew, Port Sulphur
  • Devin Boyd, West Monroe
  • Alex Bradke, Alexander, Arkansas
  • Emily Brinkerhoff, Monroe
  • Cole Chivers, Phenix City, Alabama
  • Riley Felicetty, Shreveport
  • Stacey Garner, East End, Arkansas
  • Christ Jacob Goure, Bonoua, CIV
  • Foster Gunter, Alexandria
  • Haley Hamel, Ponchatoula
  • Bailey Hayes, Shreveport
  • Gavin Jones, Huntsville, Alabama
  • Gracie Kimbrell, Bryant, Arkansas
  • Cody Marino, Watson
  • Jordan Merritt, New Orleans
  • Josh Mwatibo, Denham Springs
  • Jack North, West Monroe
  • Ty O’Neal, West Monroe
  • Whitley Procell, Baton Rouge
  • Morgan Provost, Bossier City
  • Preston Remy, Metairie
  • Olivia Roger, Ruston
  • Brandon Shows, Covington
  • Laila Steward, Monroe
  • Katelyn Watts, Bossier City
  • Will Whatley, Shreveport
  • Katie Young, West Monroe

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