Maria Delgado, assistant professor for the Interior Architecture and Design Program in the Department of Design and Merchandising, has incorporated thoughtful community engagement opportunities that are synonymous with her passion for accessible housing design.
In Delgado’s course, Interior Architecture and Design Technologies (IAD), part of the student’s coursework is introducing them to a building information modeling program called Revit. To allow the students more hands-on experience and tangibility with the program, the students use Revit to create a three-dimensional representation of commercial and residential buildings.
In the technology learning component, Delgado has thoughtfully integrated a service-learning component that allows students to integrate their knowledge of Revit community designs. She partnered with Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity to allow the students to design accessible patio homes in unincorporated Weld County.
“The patio home design challenge ranged from 600-900 square feet and integrated current universal design and visibility principles,” said Delgado, in order to “educate the students on the need for affordable, accessible housing in Northern Colorado.”
Passion for accessible housing
While pursuing her Ph.D., Delgado focused on accessible housing designs specifically for seniors. This passion has trickled down into her teaching, research focus and pursuit of educating students on the need for creating inclusive designs for Colorado’s older adult population.
Delgado’s passion and addition of these teaching elements have added a new layer to the course. While the department has always included accessibility in its course teaching, this is the first time the partnership with Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity has been realized.
The collaboration has left a long lasting impact; in relation to furthering this opportunity for service-based learning, Delgado arranged a CSU Team Build Day in April that allowed students to collaborate with the Greeley – Weld Habitat for Humanity to help construct one of the homes they were currently building. “This build experience is high-impact and hands-on and enables students to apply what they have learned in the classroom on site,” said Delgado.
Yesenia Avila who participated in CSU build day, had this to say, “My experience participating in the team build was very wholesome and I recommend anyone to participate if they get a chance. It was a great way to meet new people and learn how to construct a home.”
Future of service learning in IAD
The collaboration with Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity will leave a legacy that will allow future students to benefit from the hands-on experience but more importantly, it will leave lasting impact on the community.
In Fall 2021, the class will meet with older adult community members living in the unincorporated Weld County neighborhood and the students will have the following objectives: 1) investigate older adult user needs and 2) teach the older adults about innovative universal designs and architecture products that support living autonomously.
Delgado is always incorporating service learning and hands-on experiences in her courses. She recently served as the co-teacher for the student-led Tiny House project being built at the Nancy Richardson Design Center.
The Department of Design and Merchandising is a part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.