Architecture Students Help Design and Build School and Community Center in Honduras

Nineteen undergraduate students from the School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin will visit Santa Rosa, Honduras, Jan. 2-8 to finish construction on a school and community center they helped design and build.

Students from the university's chapter of Global Architecture Brigades collaborated with chapters from five other universities to design a secondary school and community center for the developing, rural community of Santa Rosa in central Honduras.

Santa Rosa currently has 56 graduating sixth-graders hoping to move forward to their secondary level of education. However, the closest secondary school is more than an hour away on foot and is unable to support the needs of the communities it serves.

The education complex, consisting of classrooms, offices and a community center, uses natural lighting and ventilation to take advantage of passive building systems. Local building materials with hand-built construction techniques create a space where the people of Santa Rosa can take pride in their culture.

By 2013 this facility will accommodate more than 250 students from 15 communities and further the economic and educational development of the rural community. The school will provide classes for students in the seventh, eighth and ninth grades.

The architecture students completed the design in Fall 2010. In January 2011 participants from all six schools, including 12 students from The University of Texas at Austin, traveled to Santa Rosa to begin construction. The volunteers dug trenches for foundation footings, manually sawed and bent rebar for structural reinforcement, and mixed, hauled and poured concrete to assemble a mampostería (a foundation made with small stones and mortar).

Global Architecture Brigades is a division of Global Brigades, the world's largest student-led global health and sustainable development organization. The organization was founded in 2004, and the student chapter at The University of Texas at Austin was founded in 2009.

"UT Austin has historically been one of our stronger chapters," said Tyler Macy, director of Global Architecture Brigades. "There's a lot of work to be done, but with groups like UT Austin coming down, we can finish by spring of 2012. We simply cannot do this without them. The students are the minds, the hands and the funding behind these projects."

The other chapters involved are from the University of Virginia, Texas AandM University, the University of California-Berkeley, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the University of Southern California.

The students are raising funds this semester for their January trip. If you are interested in helping their cause or want more information on this organization, please visit their website.

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