September 27, 2011 5:43 AM
For Byron Mouton, a life ensconced within walls of academia was never on his career radar. The 1989 graduate of the Tulane School of Architecture was well into developing his own practice when in 1998 he was asked to join a shorthanded architecture faculty for one semester until a replacement could be found. Thirteen years later he has become a mainstay of the school.
As co-founder and director of URBANbuild, Mouton has carved out a unique niche for himself at the school. It is his dedication for this highly intensive program — through which he can assist his students in bridging the gap between the theoretical aspects of architecture and its day-to-day professional practice — that earned Mouton a slot on Oxford American’s list of “Most Creative Teachers in the South” that appeared in the magazine’s August 2011 issue.
Mouton, who admitted to being floored and flattered by his place among the cadre of academics on the list, describes URBANbuild as a hybrid full-year experience in which students collaborate on design, produce the construction documents, solicit building permits and eventually participate directly in the construction of a building within the New Orleans area.
Mouton’s passion for URBANbuild is rooted in his belief that, to attain success, students must be confronted with step-by-step processes and rapidly evolving technological realities of architecture. A professor of practice, he sees his role as educator not as one of conveying facts, but rather in “teaching students ways to effectively access information and rely on each other to collaborate and look for new solutions.”
Cody Wild is a sophomore studying English and political science.
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