Architecture professor and students participate in community beacon of hope
March 30, 2007
Dallas Architect and UT Arlington School of Architecture Adjunct Professor Brent Brown and a group of his students recently worked to help redesign and renovate an abandoned house in the 1100-acre Frazier neighborhood of South Dallas, transforming it into a distnctive structure for use as office space for the nonprofit organization Frazier Revitalization Inc. and a public meeting space for members of the community.
The house is an abandoned 1930s bungalow which has sat vacant for a number of years. The reconstructed walls are formed out of a sturdy, double-paned plastic material called polygal. A 500w bulb will light the house from within, serving as a beacon and symbol to this struggling community.
Professor Brown says that due to the efforts of the seven students in his studio, more than seventy-five student volunteers were recruited, mostly from the School of Architecture but also including students from a variety of different campus areas such as Liberal Arts and Business.
The project grew out of Professor Brown’s buildingcommunity WORKSHOP, a nonprofit that works to incorporate various design techniques into affordable housing. Frazier Revitalization spent from $7,000 to $10,000 on the house. Its parent company, the Foundation for Community Empowerment, assists southern-sector community organizations and is headed by J. McDonald “Don” Williams, chairman emeritus of Trammell Crow Co.
Professor Brown says that the unique building will serve as a metaphor to a community long accustomed to broken promises. Students consulted with residents of the neighborhood in the planning of the house renovation and intend to use the location as a site to plan future community projects.