About Us

Our mission is to develop regionally-specific, climate appropriate building technologies for neighborhoods of Allegheny County. The focus is on the implementation of strategies which can be replicated within the dominant social, political and economic realities of the area. Development of these strategies is dependent upon involvement of these communities in a participatory process to understand existing conditions and the realities of the site. Through partnership and design charettes we intend to encourage the development of the region's housing stock and creative potential.

Since 2008, the UDBS has worked on real projects, bringing university students off campus to be inspired by people who are actively advocating for their communities. Students gain valuable experience working with a local client, detailing their designs through construction documents, and full-scale prototyping before participating in final construction. The UDBS is dedicated to producing positive architectural solutions for communities in need, while also providing architecture students with extensive skills to enter the complex realm of architectural practice.

wilkinsburg stuff 082_e.jpg

URBAN Community Clients

University Research and DESIGN

BUILD Catalytic Projects



Each year, 4th- and 5th-year undergraduate and graduate architecture students participate in design, project management and construction. Project development is dependent on the engagement of communities, clients, and stakeholders to help students understand existing neighborhood conditions and future aspirations. The process is predicated on collective intelligence, is highly collaborative, and involves hands on making as an essential design tool. Our goal is to develop regionally-specific, appropriate, affordable, and replicable projects for traditionally under-served Pittsburgh area clients.