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 Media contact:  
 Phillip Rollfing  

LAUP community outreach initiative

LAUP grad students redesign
Beaumont public housing site
damaged by Hurricane Rita



Last spring, graduate Texas A&M University landscape architecture students in Nancy Volkman’s LAND 621, Open Space Development II studio, completed a project to redesign the site of Beaumont Housing Authority’s Magnolia Gardens, a public housing property that had been damaged last summer by Hurricane Rita.

The project was the first to be tackled under the Department of Landscape Architecture’s Partnership for Community Outreach initiative. It involved two major components: First, the development of a scheme that looked at complete demolition of the existing public housing site and its replacement with a new, smaller public housing facility, with areas to be sold for single family homes and areas to be sold for commercial development. Secondly, the development of an alternative site plan in which selected residential buildings at Magnolia Gardens were renovated and enlarged, while others were demolished.

The student’s work focused on approaches to the spatial reorganization of the site, addressing such issues as new movement systems for vehicles and pedestrians, more private spaces for residents, and new locations for both housing and the office/community facilities. Volkman said the class was especially interested in providing future residents with quality open and recreational space. They also wanted to use contemporary goals of sustainable development, walkable communities, and New Urbanism as guiding principles.

The student work was presented at a May 10 public meeting held at the Beaumont Housing Authority. The student presentations included plans and illustrations for what a renewed Magnolia Gardens could look like. Additionally, separate section plans for the renovation alternative were presented.

“Not only did our students have a real world project on which to work, but they were able to meet many of the stakeholders … including the housing authority staff, who were so helpful supporting our work, current residents of Magnolia Gardens, who freely gave of their insights, and community members, who participated in the final project presentation."

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Arial perspective by Xiaoyu Zhang

Design drawings by Lee Wheelock

A view of the courtyard by Jin-Young Kim

Bus stop sketch by Michael Ryan

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