Waugh Thistleton Architects

Social Justice, Climate Justice 1

We're leading this year's Laminate Studio at the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, Arkansas, investigating what we should build our buildings from, and why we should build them that way.

Over the last semester Waugh Thistleton have been working with students in Fayetteville Arkansas, studying the social, economic, and political contexts of the challenges faced by our planet and our communities. Looking into how we got to now, before considering where we ought to go from here.

The students were asked to consider the flows of materials, food, knowledge, and money in and out of their communities, and encouraged to discuss who wins and who loses from this status quo. 

From this study, we identified specific sites that would resonate with the flows observed, where the students felt they could make a proposal that would intervene and improve the lot of their community. 

Students were encouraged to propose novel building types to address broken connections, disparities, or inequities in the communities in which they are situated, with building programmes unique to the specific challenges observed, and unique to the here and now in Fayetteville.

The students investigated how to develop beautiful, sustainable low carbon buildings, rooted in place through studying the sites and arranging proposals in such a way which to be deliverable, usable, and legible. Using wood.

Designs were developed that are inherently expressive of the capacities and building methods common to wood. Buildings that are modest yet beautiful. Functional yet delightful. And effective in achieving our ambitious aims.

The result is a stunning array of varied building programmes, showing a sophisticated understanding of the political, social and economic context in which they are proposed. 

Importantly, they are all beautiful, sustainable, equitable and healthy buildings.