Spirit of Place is a program for architecture students that over the last two decades has become one of the most influential environmental and cultural forces in reshaping the built environment while creating the archeology of tomorrow. The program has received numerous design and educational awards over the years. The Spirit of Place has recently been featured in the Smithsonian, Architectural Record, National Geographic and Dwell.
Architect Travis Price, works together with The Catholic University of America’s School of Architecture & Planning to co-sponsor and coordinate international design build expeditions for students. Students have the opportunity to research, design, and construct a project in a remote landscape, as a team with the leadership of Travis Price and Kathleen Lane. The awarded program focuses not only on design and build architecture, but also associates itself with the fields of anthropology, archaeology, philosophy, environment, and the arts. The objective of the program is to explore and educate about the design and construction of architectural forms that are able to respond to their natural and cultural settings in a modern idiom to foster a new language of modern architecture. In the program’s intense construction phase, students work hand in hand with Travis Price and his team to create outstanding legacy markers in remote areas under strenuous conditions. The design process of the program takes place over the period of a semester, while the construction phase is completed in less than nine days. For many students, this hands-on experience is their first exposure to construction techniques.
Over the past decade, the expeditions have resulted in a series of international investigations into the spirit of remote landscapes, the diversity of the appropriate cultures, and the fusion of these into practical and metaphorical architectural objects. The preservation of cultural metaphors in those distant landscapes continue to guide the development of the program’s award-winning projects.