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Auburn University

January 19, 2012

Brian Bell, AIA, and David Yocum, AIA of the Atlanta, Georgia firm, bldgs have been appointed APLA's 2012 Paul Rudolph Fellows and will be joining fourth year architecture students Spring Semester 2012. 

Third Year architecture students, directed by Professor Sheri Schumacher, worked with the community of Gees Bend, Alabama to investigate innovative and sustainable design initiatives and activities aimed at improving the social, economic and cultural conditions of the community. Gee’s Bend is a small community of about 700 residents, located on a peninsula in a bend of the Alabama River in southwest Alabama. The community has gained widespread attention for the work of its quilters, recognized most recently through a nation wide exhibition of 70 Gee’s Bend quilts launched in 2002 that transformed the art world.  The remarkable quilt making tradition in Gee’s Bend has made it a destination point for visitors from around the world..

 Schumacher’s students developed design solutions for local projects including a Gee’s Bend Learning Center for the study of quilting, as well as Visitor Housing and Community Regeneration opportunities located in the existing vacant Boykin School building  and the Gee’s Bend Park. The students’ design proposals aimed to communicate the compelling cultural and social history of the community for future educational travel groups visiting Gee’s Bend,  by encouraging economic development and increasing the benefits of local assets.

AL Innovation Engine (Engine, is a new initiative jointly funded by Auburn University and The University of Alabama that is working to create large-scale, positive change and encourage economic development in rural communities throughout Alabama. Engine’s objective is to support communities within Alabama as they work together to realize the potential of their best assets: residents, local leaders, natural resources, and their rich history.

Professor and Head of Landscape Architecture, Professor Rod Barnett is involved in a partnership with the Birmingham City Council and Birmingham Regional Commission to re-design a district of vacant and abandoned properties along Valley Creek, one of the main sources of water in Birmingham.  The design efforts strive to transform the properties into a network of useful and imaginative design interventions that contribute to both the social and the physical rehabilitation of neighborhoods affected by urban blight.

Professor David Hill, AIA, ASLA, LEED AP, received a Merit Award from the Montgomery, Alabama chapter of the AIA for 274 Bragg Avenue. Hill transformed this 3,390 square foot circa 1920’s warehouse near downtown Auburn, Alabama into a residence for the designer and his family.

Russell Harrington, a dual-degree Master’s of Landscape Architecture-Community Planning student, has just won the Alabama Chapter of the American Planning Association Outstanding Planning Student Award for his work with Professor Charlene LeBleu on a grant entitled “Taking Measures Across the Old Federal Road.”  Russell will receive his award and at the 2012 Awards Program to be held at the AL APA Annual Meeting, February 16, 2012, in Mobile, Alabama.

Professor Charlene LeBleu has been elected the Vice President of the Alabama Chapter of the American Planning Association for 2012-2014.


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