College of Architecture and Environmental Design Service Team Helps Build Home in GuatemalaPosted Oct. 22, 2012 | Megan Tomkins
Six members of designers.in.service from Kent State University's College of Architecture and Environmental Design, volunteered their skills for a trip to Guatemala this past spring semester. The students helped to build a home for a family in need through the Constru Casa organization.
Constru Casa is a non-profit organization that works with partner organizations to build basic housing for residents living in extreme poverty. The families that receive housing give back to the organization by paying one fourth of the total cost over four years and by participating in building their own home.
Although Constru Casa is funded through donations, the students, who are members of designers.in.service, had to raise money in order to travel to Guatemala to help build a home.
“We did a lot of fundraising to get the project off the ground,” says architectural studies alumna Latrice Harrison, ‘11.
While in Guatemala, the designers.in.service had the opportunity to work with local master masons and residents. Through this opportunity, they learned how homes are built in different cultures.
“We worked side-by-side with the master masons on the project,” says Harrison. “They build really different than how we build here.”
The designers.in.service realized quickly how much work was involved in the project but knew how important their work was to the family.
“It is important to help countries as Guatemala in building and supplying their people with everyday needs in order to live a more comfortable life,” says Tameka Sims, architectural studies senior. “I see it as a win-win situation – they win by getting a better home in which to live and we win by gaining a great cultural experience.”
By the end of the week, the designers.in.service had not only finished the house’s foundation, but also established their own foundation of knowledge for projects in the future.
“I learned a lot about construction techniques, actually getting to do things like hand-dig a foundation was really fun,” says Grant Stoner, architectural studies senior. “I have a new appreciation for hard work and sustainable design. Seeing how a smart design for the third world can be cheaply and rapidly constructed was very cool and puts into perspective a new dimension of design and service.”
For questions about the student initiatives of designers.in.service, contact Harrison at email@example.com or Professor Beth Bilek-Golias, Outreach + Service coordinator for Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Constru Casa, visit www.construcasa.org.