This isn’t Richardson Hall.

THIS is Richardson Hall.

Or more specifically, Studio 301, where Carter, Adriana, and their classmates are hard at work, making models like the one you see above. With its high ceilings and large, sunny windows, Tulane’s Studio 301 is full of natural light, making it the perfect environment for filming.

What I’ve learned is that each student creates drawings, computer graphics, and a physical scale model to represent their design, which they use as a 3-D visual aid during presentations, or “Reviews.” They can also drop their model right into the empty space on the site model, a small-scale version of the neighborhood, which includes the actual corner plot where the house will be built. This way, students are able to compare their unique design to the immediate area and its adjacent structures.

Byron Mouton is the URBANbuild instructor as well as a practicing architect, so there’s no question his ‘real-life’ experience is a tremendous asset to these students. Click Here [www.sundance.tv] to read an article Byron wrote on teaching, working, and living in New Orleans, and on new architectural and urban design in response to Katrina.

As a former architect himself, Michael is used to this level of detail-work, but the rest of us are amazed by these miniatures – and the fact that one of them is going to become a real house! (For all you Zoolander fans, “But how will the people fit in there?”)

The Final Review is still many weeks away. That’s when the winning design gets chosen. It’s making everyone nervous…including the crew. While the students worry about their presentations, we’ll be worrying about how to unobtrusively capture the essence of every design, and every reaction, on camera. And how to do it without getting in anyone’s way. It’s enough to give me butterflies in the stomach. I can’t imagine how the students feel.

Rachel Clift