Texas Tech Landscape Architecture Unveils Plan for African-American Museum

Creative students hope to take their design from the page to East Lubbock landmark.

An ambitious class of Texas Tech University landscape architecture students hopes to take its design concepts for the first African-American museum in West Texas from the drawing table to an actual East Lubbock landmark.

More than a dozen students from the university presented their plans Nov. 2 to the Lubbock Roots Historical Arts Council. Among the design highlights were open-air theaters, winding tree-shaded paths, as well as art and history exhibits highlighting South Plains’ black history.

The projects are part of an effort to transform the Caviel Building, a historic East Lubbock pharmacy. Alfred and Billie Caviel are believed to be the first African-American husband-and-wife pharmacy team in the United States. The Caviels donated the pharmacy to provide Lubbock with its first African-American history center.

“It’s great for students to work with people in the community who share a common vision,” said Melissa Currie, an assistant professor in Texas Tech’s Department of Landscape Architecture.

Ten of Currie’s fourth-year undergraduates and five graduate students presented their projects to the Roots Historical Art Council. Each group of students had more than five large project sketches, including 3-D plans and renderings.

In preparation for the student project, Currie conducted research on ways of incorporating civil rights awareness into urban design. Then her students were required to research the civil rights movement and East Lubbock history and find ways to incorporate the concept into their work.

More than $70,000 in the form of a grant has already been targeted for the museum project, said Eric Strong, director of the Lubbock Roots Historical Arts Council. Looking ahead, Currie said the council will decide what parts of each project will be incorporated in the center’s final design. A construction start date has not been finalized.

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CONTACT: Melissa Currie, assistant professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-2672 or melissa.currie@ttu.edu.