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University of Oklahoma

October 6, 2011

The University of Oklahoma dedicated Gould Hall for the College of Architecture in a public ceremony on Wednesday, Sept. 14. It is the first time that students from all five disciplines – architecture, construction science, interior design, landscape architecture, and regional and city planning – are housed under one roof. The result, says College of Architecture Dean Charles Graham, will be greater opportunities for interdisciplinary study and a more rounded learning experience. The newly renovated building features a two-story, vaulted gallery – the Buskuhl Gallery – that allows for the flexibility of lighting and space necessary to adequately accommodate the students’ work in a professional manner, as well as a beautiful space in which to host receptions, symposia and traveling exhibits. Among the innovative features of the new building are a “Super Studio,” featuring two 40-inch plasma televisions and an interactive technology table, which allows six students to share their work with the professor and other students, and a full and mini “Learn Lab.” Learn Labs differ from traditional classrooms in that they have no typical “front”; rather, space is arranged in such a way as to encourage interaction among the students and professor. Three projectors allow students to share their work on one or all of the screens, and a ceiling-view document camera can be used to zoom in on an object and display it on one or more of the projector screens.

Oklahoma educator and urban designer Blair Humphreys was named Executive Director of the Institute for Quality Communities at the OU College of Architecture. The Institute for Quality Communities, founded in 2008, builds on OU’s success as an outstanding research university. Humphreys will guide the Institute in its work to build more vibrant, sustainable and equitable communities throughout Oklahoma and provide more research and educational opportunities for OU students. In spring 2011, Humphreys was the faculty adviser for a group of students from OU’s College of Architecture and Michael F. Price College of Business competing in a national urban design competition for The Urban Land Institute. The team placed in the top four, competing against 152 others from across the United States and Canada.

Ron Frantz, an architect who specializes in small-town design and preservation has joined the Institute for Quality Communities as the director of Small Town Studios. Frantz, who has done extensive work with both national and state Main Street programs, also has been named a Wick Carey Professor and will teach in the college’s Division of Architecture.  Frantz will provide design and planning experience by pairing faculty and students to projects in small towns across the state.

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