For the last 26 years Professor Dan Rockhill has taught Studio 804, a comprehensive, year-long design build architectural studio for students in their final year of the Master of Architecture program at the University of Kansas. This is a unique course that allows graduate students to get hands on experience with design and construction – an educational experience most architecture students do not get. Previously, students in this course work with Professor Rockhill to construct highly sustainable and energy efficient buildings from the ground-up, successfully teaching students the complexities that efficient building systems entail. This type of education is not unlike doing a medical residency before becoming a practicing doctor, Studio 804 teaches architecture students how to become professionals.
Last year, in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Studio 804 turned our focus to those in need in our community by donating their project, Monarch Village, to the Lawrence Community Shelter. The Studio 804 project aimed to create a precedent supporting the movement away from placing the homeless in congregate housing, typically gymnasium like rooms full of bunk beds, by designing more dignified and private dwellings that support a transition to permanent housing. Monarch Village consists of twelve tiny homes created from repurposed shipping containers that were successfully transformed into functional, sustainable dwelling for families experiencing homelessness. Each innovative shelter unit includes space for up to four people, equipped with bunk beds, a pull-out sleeper couch, a small kitchenette, and a full bathroom, and one unit is designed to be fully ADA accessible.
This year we plan to continue our effort to help the Lawrence community and have been designing ten single-unit container homes that are meant to be used as transitional housing for Phase II of Monarch Village. We were fortunate enough to have ten shipping containers donated to us but have encountered funding issues, as we are not financially able to donate to the Lawrence Community Shelter again this year. The other costs include the site infrastructure, water, sewer, solar power, electric and building materials to transform the bare shipping containers into safe, comfortable, and private spaces for members of our community in need of shelter. Phase II of Monarch Village is stuck in its cocoon and needs assistance to metamorphosize into a butterfly.
The University of Kansas and the Lawrence community have a symbiotic relationship that is essential for the city of Lawrence to thrive, and Monarch Village is a prime example of how this relationship can work. This year, we have a group of 31 determined grad students that are eager to continue the mutualistic relationship that Studio 804 has with the Lawrence Community Shelter, but we need your help.
With your contribution we can continue our design-build collaboration and bring dignified transitional housing to those in need.
See more about Studio 804 and Monarch Village here: https://studio804.com/
2021 Schemata (Monarch Village Phase I): issuu.com/kustudio804