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A FRESH Point of View: PLAYhouses

Have you noticed a recent addition to the green space in our north parking lot? If you haven’t walked over to check them out, you must take a look at the four PLAYhouses that are temporarily housed here at FRESH.  These architectural wonders are not only fun to look at, but are helping raise money for one of our favorite local charities, Habitat for Humanity.

Fitzpatrick Architects, the local firm that designed FRESH, has teamed up with Tyler high school students to lend hands-on design and construction experience.  More than 20 Robert E. Lee High School students, involved in the architecture and construction programs, designed and built the playhouses that will be auctioned off to raise money for Habitat for Humanity of Smith County.

Fitzpatrick has a long history of engaging with local organizations to get involved in mentoring and education in Tyler.  As luck would have it, Deanna Harrison, director of development for Habitat for Humanity, approached them with the idea of building playhouses to auction off and the two missions converged into PLAYhouse.

A true model for mentoring, this project has allowed the participating students to get a true to life experience.  These students, should they choose to move forward and pursue a career in architecture, have a great advantage.  They have experienced a very similar environment to their first college class.  They have seen an architect’s office, and know how the joys and frustrations of seeing a project through from start to finish.  And now, they have something to add to their entrance portfolio.

The project also took life in the construction department. Local contractors sponsored each of the PLAYhouses (RPR construction, WRL construction, Garrett Construction, and HGR construction).  The contractors have worked tirelessly with the students, donated materials, and mentored them in the building process.

Take a look at the story on Facebook:  PLAYhouse

The silent auction for the four PLAYhouses began on November 9th.  You are able to bid and see renderings of the PLAYhouses at this website:

I encourage everyone to come out to FRESH and take a look at these impressive structures and then go online and bid!  One of these could make the perfect Christmas gift!