Urban Studio

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Urban Studio, founded in 1991 as the Auburn University Center for Architecture and Urban Studies is a Birmingham-based educational and outreach program of Auburn University's College of Architecture, Design & Construction (CADC). It was conceived as a complement to the university's renowned Rural Studio, and is focused on community development and urban planning. The program is currently led by director Alex Krumdieck.

The program was initiated on campus at Auburn by associate professor Franklin Setzer with then dean Dan Bennett. Professor Cheryl Morgan brought it to Birmingham in 1997 and took over as director after Setzer's death in 2002. The studio has notably been involved in assets-based community revitalization plans under the "Small Town Design Initiative" and "YourTownAlabama" programs, as well as in charrettes for Design Alabama's "Design Vision Program" for urban spaces.

It hosted an American Institute of Architects Regional/Urban Design Assistance Team (R/UDAT) in the aftermath of the April 2011 tornado outbreak and worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to study impacted areas, primarily in Pratt City. In 2012 Urban Studio hosted a "Mayors' Institute on City Design" program funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally the Urban Studio hosted 4th-year students for one academic quarter. Later the program was reoriented for 3rd year students, while also hosting 5th year students working on thesis projects related to urban design. Currently the studio is primarily a year-long program open to selected 5th year students in architecture and interior architecture, with an additional fall semester program for 3rd-year students. The 5th-year program also offers an internship in a professional architecture, planning or landscape architecture practice.

After moving to Birmingham, Urban Studio was originally housed in the Roden Block on the northwest corner of 2nd Avenue North and 20th Street. It later moved into the Young & Vann Building as one of several organizations making up what was then dubbed the "Center for Regional Planning and Design". When Alabama Media Group took over that building in 2013, Urban Studio worked temporarily from space provided by Sloss Realty Company at Pepper Place before moving into the Porter Clothing Co. building, across 20th Street from its original home, in the summer of 2014. Auburn later acquired the Hood-McPherson building at 2013–2015 4th Avenue North and renovated it for use by the Urban Studio and other University programs.

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