Committed to furthering the studies of architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design students at his alma mater Kansas State University, Louis A. Meilink Jr., FAIA, FACHA, ACHE, sponsored a semester-long course aimed at establishing real-world experience for students and a healthier community for residents. The studio concept was developed and led by Kendra Kirchmer, IDSA, Assistant Professor of Interior Architecture & Industrial Design.

The course, Interdisciplinary Collaborative Studio, Vital Design: Denver, introduced cross-disciplinary opportunities for students while identifying the ways social determinants impact overall health. Throughout the semester, students were tasked with answering the following questions:

  • What is health and what does it mean to be healthy?
  • How does the built environment impact health through its quality as well as the ways it shapes the behaviors of groups and individuals?
  • How can design prioritize equity, inclusion, increased opportunity, quality-of-life, and good health for all?

Teams used this initial research and analysis to identify and define their project type and scope. The semester-long studio was based on an interdisciplinary and collaborative design structure to engage students within Kansas State University’s College of Architecture, Planning, and Design. The course encouraged group members to participate in all facets of design while utilizing their specific skill set to develop designs that explore strategies and solutions for creating healthier and more equitable cities and neighborhoods.

With the support of Lou, students had the opportunity to travel to Denver to examine their design theories, test their assumptions, and finalize site selection and documentation. Students presented their final projects this week.