The Building Institute (BI) is UL Lafayette’s integrated project delivery, develop-design-build institute. The Building Institute provides an opportunity for students to act. It is founded upon the belief that the act of making meaningful architecture requires our students to take responsibility for their designs: culturally, socially, politically, fiscally, and technically. Students design and build projects which range in size from small site installations such as seating and play areas to large scale projects such as pavilions and housing.
Our students work hand-in-hand with local contractors to build the homes that achieve sustainability standards such as the National Homebuilder’s Green Building Standard or LEED. The Building Institute is structured through a graduate design studio in the fall, the construction documents course in the spring, and the construction course in the summer. Students receive academic credit for each course and, in addition, several team leaders receive paid summer internships that allowing them to accrue IDP (Intern Development Program) credit.
The Building Institute provides students in the School of Architecture and Design a link between knowledge and understanding by providing a place for building experience. This experience not only teaches the craft of how materials are assembled but also team collaboration, conflict resolution, financial management, and client communication.
The Building Institute provides an opportunity for students to act. It is founded upon the belief that the act of making meaningful architecture requires our students to take responsibility for their designs: culturally, socially, politically, fiscally, and technically. The Building Institute has put a structure in place that allows participation in service-learning by the entire student body and faculty thus institutionalizing pedagogy and service. The project goes from the head of the student, to paper and model, and finally to the built-form. Most importantly, the built-work is located in the community and serves the community.
Learn more about the UL Lafayette Building Institute.
The Building Institute's most recent completed project is the Lafayette Strong Pavilion, a gridshell which will provide a moment of respite in a proposed sculpture garden along Camillia Blvd in Lafayette. It is a unique and innovative structure, designed and built in collaboration with UL Lafayette's School of Architecture and Design's Building Institute, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Acadiana Center for the Arts, Lafayette Consolidated Government, and Lafayette Public Trust and Financing Authority.
The Building Institute has aimed to set a precedent for sustainability on a budget through three design-build projects which use sustainable construction. The COURhouse, completed in 2014, was named for its main feature: a central courtyard that connects the living room and kitchen to the outdoors. Read more about the COURhouse. Before the COURhouse, we completed two homes, also in the Freetown neighborhood, named the Next House and the Event House, completed in 2012 and 2011, respectively. In 2009, the Building Institute participated in the 2009 Solar Decathlon in Washington, DC, with the BeauSoleil home. The home won first place in Market Viability and earned the People's Choice Award. The home is now housed on UL Lafayette's campus, next to Fletcher Hall, and is available for tours and events. The decathlon and our success helped to highlight and publicize our commitment to the use of alternative energy and sustainability in the building industry. Learn more about BeauSoleil.