Hammons School of Architecture

Professor’s Research Turns Architectural Plans into Virtual Worlds

Virtual reality technology is making mainstream headlines following Facebook’s $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR, maker of the Oculus Rift headset.  Though designed primarily as an entertainment and gaming device, the Rift headset also holds incredible promise as a powerful design tool.

David Beach, assistant professor at Drury University’s Hammons School of Architecture, has spent the past three years working to apply VR technology to the field of architecture and design. He has specifically worked with the Oculus Rift hardware for about six months.

Now Beach, with the help of senior architecture student Sam McBride, is set to demonstrate the results of his research – namely, a custom software solution that takes plans built with today’s commonly used design software and turns them into virtual spaces designers and their clients can explore in three dimensions using the Oculus Rift.

Beach and McBride will demonstrate their work to area architects from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 8 at the Hammons School of Architecture auditorium. The event is open to the public and the media are invited to attend.

“The idea of virtual reality has been around for more than 20 years, but the technology is only just now becoming affordable and user-friendly,” Beach says. “The Oculus Rift is the tipping point for hardware, which then opens up countless possibilities in architectural design.”

The process Beach and McBride have developed is highly iterative, allowing design decisions to be made based on the visceral experience of exploring ideas in virtual space. Beach’s research has focused on making the use of VR technology as easy and affordable as possible for practicing architects. A firm would need to invest less than $2,000 and a few hours of training time to be able to port their existing designs into virtual space.

For more information, contact: David Beach, Assistant Professor of Architecture, (417) 873-7055 or dbeach01@drury.edu.


Drury University and GreenTown Joplin partner to design and build demonstration eco-home for tornado-stricken Joplin

JOPLIN, Mo., January 17, 2012 - GreenTown Joplin will partner with Drury University Hammons School of Architecture to develop and construct a demonstration eco-home in Joplin. Nine students will spend this semester researching and designing a unique home that will be used by GreenTown Joplin as an education center and office. Fundraising will take place this spring and summer, with construction slated to begin in the fall.

The home, dubbed the Monarch Eco-Home, is part of GreenTown’s Chain of Eco-Homes(CoEH) program. The CoEH are permanent demonstration projects that are open to the public and serve as community information hubs for sustainability and environmental initiatives relating to sustainable disaster recovery. They act as information clearinghouses for sustainable building and living practices and explore the numerous approaches to creating an energy efficient & healthy home environment.

“This is a unique opportunity to educate both the residents of Joplin as well as the students – the future designers of new buildings – about the benefits and practice of constructing sustainable buildings,” said Joah Bussert, project director for the Monarch Eco-Home.

The introduction of an eco-home in Joplin will provide residents and students with the opportunity to witness firsthand the construction of a sustainable home. Progress will be documented via the GreenTown and Drury University websites, as well as other outlets, with detailed information about the process and products provided. Residents will be able to gain an intimate knowledge of the construction practices employed and learn invaluable tips and methods to consider in the reconstruction of their own homes. The construction site will also be open to visitors through tours and demonstration events.

The home will use a unique concrete wall system donated by TF Forming Systems, located in Springfield. The system, known as vertical Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF), is designed to withstand the high winds found in severe weather such as hurricanes and tornadoes. It also provides an advantage for energy efficiency. Based on research by Building Works, Inc., homes built with ICF exterior walls require an estimated 44% less energy to heat and 32% less energy to cool than comparable houses built using traditional wood-frame construction. Over the course of the project, TF will also provide students with the education and training required to design and build using this cutting-edge technology.

The parent company of Joplin Concrete, The Monarch Cement Company of Humboldt, Kansas, provided seed funding for the project, with additional support provided by the Portland Cement Association. George Van Hoesen of Global Green Building will provide construction management and energy efficiency consulting.

Drury Contact:
Traci Sooter, Associate Director, tsooter@drury.edu, 417-873-7416
Nancy Chikaraishi, Associate Professor, nchikaraishi@drury.edu, 417-873-7459

GreenTown Joplin Contact:
Catherine Hart, General Manager, catherine@greentownjoplin.org, 620-549-3752
Joah Bussert, CoEH Project Director, joah@greentownnational.org, 630-776-7624

About GreenTown Joplin

GreenTown Joplin is a project of Greensburg GreenTown, the nonprofit organization that helped Greensburg, Kansas, rebuild a “green,” energy-efficient community after the tornado of May 2007 destroyed most of the town. GreenTown staff members have been working in Joplin since August of 2011, having assembled a committee of sustainability experts from the area to assist residents, business owners and the city as they recover and rebuild after the devastating tornado of May 2011. More information is available at http://www.greentownjoplin.org.


Drury architecture to host an internationally known exhibition

Springfield, Mo., January 17, 2012 Drury University’s Hammons School of Architecture will host an exhibition titled “Colombia: Transformed / Architecture = Politics.”  The exhibition opens on Friday, Jan. 25 from 4-6 p.m. The exhibition will be on display from 9 a.m.-to-5 p.m., Monday-Friday, through March 1. The Hammons School of Architecture located on the northeast corner of Chestnut Expressway and Drury Lane. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Exhibition curator Vladimir Belogolovsky will speak at the Hammons School ofArchitecture on Wednesday, Feb. 27  at 3 p.m. in the Hammons School of Architecture.

The exhibition traces ten recently built, socially-conscious projects by five leading voices in contemporary Colombian architecture: Daniel Bonilla and Giancarlo Mazzanti from Bogotá, and Felipe Mesa, Juan Manuel Pelaez, and Felipe Uribe from Medellín. These visionary works reflect significant social shifts that are taking place in Latin America today. They demonstrate ideas of social inclusion, as well as innovative architectural forms and spaces, which have been steadily transforming Colombian cities and the nation. The projects are explored through photographs, slides, drawings, and film footage to celebrate how these buildings are appropriated by the public.

Contact: Robert Weddle, Associate Professor of Architecture, Phone: (417) 873-7450, Email: rweddle@drury.edu


Drury one of the top 14 architecture schools in the Midwest

November 1, 2012, Springfield, Mo. For the second year in a row, Drury’s Hammons School of Architecture has been ranked among the top 14 schools in the MidWest region, out of the 24 professionally accredited programs by Design Intelligence, the only ranking agency for architecture schools in the US.

Drury is included among undergraduate professional programs because Drury graduates are, so far, on the job market with a professionally accredited Bachelor of Architecture degree. The first class with a Master of Architecture degree, the only accredited degree now granted by Drury University, will graduate in May 2013.


Drury’s new architectural leader has a wealth of international experience

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., March 28, 2012 — Dr. Maurizio Sabini has taught architecture in Italy, Africa and the United States. In July, he’ll bring his extensive experience to Drury University as the new Director of the Hammons School of Architecture.

“Dr. Sabini brings remarkable national and international credentials and a fundamental commitment to teaching and learning. His leadership will strengthen Drury’s commitment to preparing our students for professional success, with an initial priority of strengthening our connection to the local and regional architecture community” said Dr. Charles Taylor, vice president for academic affairs.

Dr. Maurizio Sabini

Since 2000, Dr. Sabini has been a faculty member at Kent State University in Ohio, and he served as the graduate and architecture program coordinator, and, since 2007, as the international studies coordinator for the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. Prior to Kent State, Dr. Sabini taught at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., the University Institute of Architecture in Venice, and at the University of Nairobi in Kenya.

Dr. Sabini earned his undergraduate and Ph.D. degrees at the University Institute of Architecture in Venice. In the early eighties, he received a Master of Architecture at the State University of New York in Buffalo as a Fulbright scholar.

Besides scholarly work, Dr. Sabini has worked as a designer and architect in his native Italy, Kenya, Austria and in Ohio.

“It is with great honor that I accept the appointment as the next director of the HSA. The architecture program at Drury attracted me for its specific identity as a professional program within a liberal arts based educational setting,” said Sabini. “This is a very effective approach to architectural education, and increasingly so in the 21st century, when design professionals will have to build their skills on a solid and broad cultural base. I also believe that the Drury program is well positioned to become a model in this regard. While keeping a focus on continuously enriching the student learning experience, my efforts will be aimed at helping the program leverage its current strengths, sharpen its identity and vision, and increase its reputation regionally, nationally and internationally.”

Sabini takes over for Michael Buono who is stepping down from his administrative role in the Hammons School of Architecture to return to full-time teaching.

“It has been an exciting and challenging twelve years since I became the director of the Hammons School of Architecture.  Under my tenure, I believe that we have made some significant accomplishments,” said Buono. “I have increased and stabilized the faculty, encouraged and supported the establishment of the Drury Greece program, shepherded the last two successful National Architecture Accrediting Board re-accreditations, and established and implemented the Master of Architecture degree program.  Between my previous position at Arkansas and now Drury, I have served in an administrative role for the past twenty six years and now I’m looking forward to returning to the classroom full time.”

Sabini begins his new role on July 16.

Media Contact: Dr. Charles Taylor, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Office: (417) 873-7391, E-mail: ctaylor@drury.edu