Thinking of Studying at Urban Studio? Alumni say ‘Go for it!’

Auburn Urban Studio

The city is your classroom at Auburn’s Urban Studio!

Located in Birmingham, Alabama, Urban Studio is a teaching and outreach program in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction (CADC). Alumni say that a semester or year at Urban Studio gives students hands-on experience with community development and urban planning that will set them up for career success.

Over the years, Urban Studio has been involved with numerous key projects in Birmingham’s growth and development, among them Pepper Place Farmer’s Market, Railroad Park and mid-town housing opportunities. Urban Studio’s current projects focus on work in the city of Birmingham as well as local neighborhood projects in areas like Avondale, Woodlawn, Smithfield and McLendon Park. The program has moved several times and is about to make one more move to be the principal occupant of the former home of the Hood McPherson furniture store. Once renovations are complete, the building will serve students, faculty and alumni from other CADC and Auburn programs and offices.

Fifth year architecture and interior architecture students may spend a full academic year in Birmingham, but admission to the program is competitive and only 15 students are admitted each year. Third year students have the option of spending the fall semester at the Studio. Fifth year students are automatically set up with a two month-long full-time internship with a local firm, earning valuable professional experience and AXP credit towards licensure. Many students go on to full-time employment with those firms after graduation.

So why should you study at Urban Studio?

Keaton Ernst

Keaton Ernst, Nequette Architecture & Design

“Urban Studio played a very direct role in placing me in contact with my first job opportunity. With Urban Studio being located in the heart of downtown Birmingham, many of the surrounding firms are often invited to sit in on presentations and design sessions.”

Nick Frisby

Nick Frisby, Nequette Architecture & Design

“During my Urban Studio internship at Nequette Design, I saw how the principles of good urban design, which I learned in studio, were applied across a variety of project types and scales. I had ample opportunities to contribute to meaningful work and discussions. I thoroughly enjoyed my internship and am now working with the Nequette team full time as a project manager.”

Matt Leavell

Matt Leavell, Leavell Design Consulting

“Urban Studio was a turning point during my education. It educates through experience, not just academics. For anyone interested in expanding their perspective of the design world and beginning a career path broader than the traditional model, Urban Studio is a wonderful place to start that journey.”

Michael Lewandowski

Michael Lewandowski, David Baker Architects

“Urban Studio gave me the opportunity to intern with a construction company rather than an architecture firm, which built a foundation of interpersonal communication, conflict resolution, and practical construction knowledge from the perspective of ‘the other side.’ That foundation was a critical leg up into my integrated design and construction career and continues to aid in relationship building today.”

Jessica Bennett

Jessica Bennett, ArchitectureWorks

“I am a Birmingham native, and as a student I wanted to participate in anything that would help me learn more about my hometown, give me a leg up professionally and provide the opportunity to grow and contribute to the design community. The Birmingham that exists now is totally different than in 2007–2008. Seeing the successes in ongoing community development that we dreamed about as students is so fulfilling, and knowing that the local design community is filled with former Urban Studio participants who also care for continued growth in Birmingham makes that opportunity invaluable.”

Alex Hamady

Alex Hamady, ArchitectureWorks

“My experience at Urban Studio allowed me to understand the complexity of an urban environment and the multitude of conditions that can exist under the single “urban” umbrella. Having the opportunity to visit these different areas of the city and learn how historical development and socioeconomic conditions should affect my architectural approach was critical in my development as a designer.”