OU College of Architecture students embrace new technology to build safe, long-lasting structures


Jadyn Watson-Fisher

Due to the nation’s recent hurricanes and the state’s increased seismic activity, the University of Oklahoma College of Architecture is reemphasizing the importance of using technology to construct buildings designed to withstand disasters.

Lisa Holliday, associate professor of construction science, said it can be difficult to design structures that can withstand every type of disaster. But construction scientists should try and find a balance based on the weather where the building is located and estimated wear it will experience.

Creating buildings strong enough to protect human life has always been a part of the curriculum, Holliday said, but students have new technology to help in the endeavor.

The college uses various computer programs to assist in the design and construction of buildings. Nicole Broceus, construction science graduate student, said most of her work is done using one of the programs on her laptop. These allow students to see where there are structural deficiencies in their plans, if there would be any plumbing or electrical issues once built and create schedules based on order of construction.

“We used to have to work in two dimensions and just kind of imagined it in three dimensions,” Holliday said. “Now we can actually work in three dimensions in computer programs.”

Broceus said the construction industry is retroactive and makes changes to code or embraces new technology only after something tragic happens. She hopes as students graduate and get jobs, they can make their field more accepting of improvements.