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UNL architecture students visit Albion, begin fall semester ‘studio’ here

Albion and Boone County will be a “studio” this semester for UNL professor Martin Despang and 14 of his architecture graduate students.

The students made their first visit to the area last Wednesday, Aug. 26, and will be coming back often for “on site” work in the coming months.

The area will be a case study for student research in several areas, including learning about the area’s history.

“Students will be challenged to think about the future of the community, as if they were actually living here and viewed this as their home,” said professor Despang. “We like this community and hope to make it better because we were here.”

Returning approximately once every two weeks, the students will be headquartered in the annex of Albion City Hall. Despang said the students will be seeking local mentors to work with in design projects.

The studio syllabus notes that students will be asked to consider future needs of the community and the people of Albion in living through a variety of changes in the availability of fossil fuels, general environmental limitations and the rural-urban lifestyles of residents.

Despang is considered an “eco-architect.” He incorporates design elements and ecologically friendly materials in his projects, using elements of nature to help heat and cool buildings.