Students Receive Excellence in Wood Design Award

October 26, 2023
An outdoor learning center designed by students in Coleman Coker's Gulf Coast DesignLab studio was recognized by the Texas Forestry Association for excellence in wood design.
Students smiling at the camera as they hold up their Excellence in Wood Design Award from the Texas Forestry Association

Students from the Spring and Summer 2023 Gulf Coast DesignLab studio recently received an Excellence in Wood Design Award from the Texas Forestry Association for an outdoor learning center they designed and built in deep east Texas. Several students attended the awards ceremony on Thursday, October 19, 2023, in Nacogdoches, held during the Texas Forestry Association’s annual conference. 

The design/build project sits on the 19,000-acre Boggy Slough Conservation Area, located along the western edge of the Neches River, near Lufkin, Texas, and managed by the TLL Temple Foundation. Working with the Temple Foundation throughout the spring term, students sought to better understand the organization’s mission and their facility needs, ultimately resulting in a master plan and the design of an ecologically responsible outdoor learning center in the middle of the protected forest. This is the latest in a series of projects built by Professor of Practice Coleman Coker’s Gulf Coast DesignLab, an Advanced Design Studio offered at the UT School of Architecture that uses a Public Interest Design approach to provide students with hands-on experience working with a real-world community partner.

Learn more about the project and watch a timelapse of the project build here: 


Spring 2023 Gulf Coast DesignLab students include Sebastien Bartlett, Laura Bui, Paula Cano, Ana Macarena de Salvidea, Yusuf Derya, Ciara Hackerman, Madelaine Hamilton, Annie Hayes, Aya Kousa, Tessa Laplante, Miguel Magtaan, Keely Morgan, and Kate Shirley.