The Asheville DesignBuild Studio, a program of the Asheville Design Center, is a multi-disciplinary, hands-on, educational experience. Participants will have the opportunity to affect a lasting and positive impact on Asheville’s vibrant and diverse communities. Individuals will come together as a team, draw upon their wide range of design and technical disciplines to gather community input, define a project type, design and develop the concept, and build their design. The DesignBuild Studio addresses issues of social justice, community sustainability and good design, not simply by watching, but by doing.

This Summer’s Project

The Asheville Design Center is excited to announce our Summer 2017 Asheville DesignBuild Studio. Design students are invited to apply to the studio, which will be partnering with the City of Asheville this summer to design and install a community garden at the former “Sister Cities” site located at 33 Page Ave. The installations are intended to inspire and inform components of other community garden sites in the city.

The hands-on, multi-disciplinary, eight-week studio will run from June 5 to July 28. The program will be led by Clemson architecture professor Doug Hecker. 

In 2013, the City of Asheville created the Food Policy Action Plan in support of the Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council to advise City Council on policies and goals to identify the benefits, challenges and opportunities for a successful, sustainable local food system in Asheville. The Asheville Edibles Community Garden Program’s goal is to allow usage of city properties for the cultivation of plants, herbs, fruits, flowers, or vegetables; increasing local food production and providing community benefits.

Raised garden beds was also a concept generated by a group of citizens appointed by City Council to determine the future uses of that and adjacent city-owned sites.

This summer students will work with community members to explore how design can address issues of community sustainability and support a successful model for building and maintaining garden sites. Students will define, generate, and explore conceptual solutions while integrating technical, financial, legal, and social constraints to complete a built project.

For the full press release, click here.

How We Select Community Projects

Every winter the Asheville Design Center puts a call out to the greater Asheville Community to solicit proposals for community projects. We typically receive over a dozen intriguing proposals from community groups. Our DesignBuild Task force then evaluates the proposals, using the following criteria:

  • Community Impact: How does this project improve our community? Is it focused on a narrow segment of the community, or can it be enjoyed by everyone? Does the project allow for opportunities to collaborate with community groups and individuals?
  • Feasibility: How does the scope of the project match up with our 10-week class and students’ skill sets? Is funding for building materials secured? What are the anticipated permit requirements for the project?
  • Multi-Disciplinary: Does the project offer opportunities to engage students of multiple disciplines?
  • Studio Visibility: Is the job site visible to the public? Does the project allow for a transparent design process? Will this project serve as effective promotion for future studios?

Once we’ve narrowed the field to three to four finalists, our task force interviews the applicants and selects a final project for the upcoming summer studio. If you are interested in submitting a proposal for next year’s studio (2018), please feel free to submit a proposal.

The DesignBuild Studio is open to collegiate and graduate level students who are interested in learning more about the built environment and how it interfaces with individuals and local communities. The DesignBuild Studio will be an equivalent of six credit hours. Each participant will be responsible to coordinate the transfer of credit with their host College or University.

A PDF of the Student Application form is available here.

All forms can be mailed to:

Asheville Design Center
PO Box 1524
Asheville, NC 28802

All other inquiries can be directed to Chris Joyell ( or 828-782-7894)