2023 Study Architecture Student Showcase - Part XXXIII

Welcome to the final edition of the 2023 Study Architecture Student Showcase! In Part XXXIII, we highlight student work that centers on public spaces. The showcased designs include public parks, meeting spaces, community centers, commercial retail spaces, parking structures, pools, and more.

Re-encontrarse (Re-united) by Sophie Esther Zurhaar Ortiz, B.Arch ‘23
Universidad Anáhuac Querétaro | Advisors: Jorge Javier & Francisco Paille

This project seeks to generate an urban design proposal for the recovery of public space in Felipe Carrillo Puerto. Aiming to propose meeting spaces where all kinds of activities can be carried out, recover the railroad tracks to stop being a physical barrier, and defragment the urban fabric, offering cohesive, healthy, and functional meeting spaces that together can regenerate the social fabric.

Instagram: @sophiezurhaar, @arqwave

PROSPECT NEW ORLEANS by Olivia Georgakopoulos, B.Arch ‘23
Tulane University | Advisor: Ruben Garcia-Rubio

This project proposes to open the building to the city, creating a place that adds to its rich urban fabric. The site is a parking lot at the corner between the Contemporary Arts Center and the WWII Museum. While there are many voids in the surrounding context, like this site, they are not habitable. This project provides a much-needed public space for the many visitors to the surrounding museums. Taking inspiration from the L-shaped building typology in New Orleans, the building opens to the city, creating a public plaza. 

The building functions as an open-public platform connecting Camp Street and Andrew Higgins Blvd. The glass-enclosed first floor is fluid and can be completely opened, allowing for space not to be defined by interior or exterior. Rather, programs can spill out and interact between the interior and the plaza. The ground floor then becomes animated by human activity. The public programs, gallery, cafe, lobby, and lounge are housed on the first floor, and spaces to support the art center are above. 

Transparency of the building is achieved through the aluminum louvered facade, which acts as a theatrical scrim. This veiled facade reveals the animation on the inside of the building. This transparency is also experienced from the inside looking out: the interior programs interact with filtered and framed views of the city. 

A chain of internal double-height spaces forms a visual cascade through the building, providing internal transparency and animation with continuous views from the bottom floor to the top floor and the sky. The overall design provides continuity between the interior, the plaza, the street level, and the city.

Instagram: @rubgarrub

Los Angeles Media Library by Charlotte J. Love, B.Arch ‘23
Tulane University | Advisor: Ruben Garcia-Rubio

The Los Angeles Media Library began by building upon the urban design. The building began with the broken urban block typology found throughout the site, this promoted a continued focus on mobility within the project. The urban block shape was altered to accommodate one large building wrapped in louvers and two smaller pavilions hosting different program focuses on a plaza. This iteration of the broken urban block creates an inviting place for a public plaza. This plaza being at the literal intersection of the business and arts district makes it a perfect spot to hold a media center and library. This is relevant for both the site and the Greater Los Angeles.

The plaza has a number of public transportation stops and is located across the street from two museums making the plaza equally important to the design. The open space has a café, reading area, pavilion, and an outdoor theater. The buildings and walkways align with the surrounding roads and buildings leading to a central sunken space at the center of the plaza. Held within the building are two zones with thickened walls holding private programs such as classrooms, dark rooms, offices, etc. This allows the rest of the building to be much more open with a number of double heights as well as spaces with an indoor-outdoor feeling. This allows the building to be fluid and connected to the plaza, blurring the line between public and private spaces.

Instagram: @rubgarrub

HALLOWED GROUND by Ramona Reinhart, M.Arch ‘23
University of North Carolina at Charlotte | Advisor: Chris Jarrett

In “Taoka Reiun and Environmental Thoughts in the Early 1900s,” Ronald Loftus addresses Reiun’s cultural critique of Western modernization and the devastating forms of pollution that followed during Japan’s Meijin state beginning in 1880. As an early environmentalist and anti-modernist, Reiun argues that these natural disasters are ultimately a result of humanity’s disconnection from the natural and spiritual world. 

Located in Shibuya, Hallowed Ground proposes “The Under Line,” a linear futuristic public park, lab farm and market, integrated urban meditation spaces, and a museum for environmental disasters as a response to Tokyo’s culture of hyper-consumerism and capital development that “buried” many of Japan’s spiritual traditions and natural ecologies. The constant strive for economic growth resulted in large areas of impervious surfaces in the city. Surfaces that are now being hollowed out.

This project won the 2023 Best Architectural Diploma Project. As well as 2023 Excellence in Architectural Representation.

Instagram: @_ramonareinhartg

Little Megastructure by Yiman Yiman, M.Arch ‘23
UCLA Architecture and Urban Design | Advisor: Greg Lynn

“Little Megastructure” configures an inclusive community of aggregated spatial prototypes that celebrates social connection and belonging while supporting individuality. The prototypical forms can be combined and composed in a variety of ways to create a wide range of spaces. Clusters of parks, plazas, courtyards, and atriums in between modules throughout the megastructure foster a sense of community and belonging. With a clear hierarchy of spaces that are designed for different purposes and activities, having all the components of a city creates a sense of urbanism.

Park! Park! by Motomi Matsubara ‘23
UCLA Architecture and Urban Design | Advisor: Greg Lynn

“Park! Park!” offers a set of housing towers, their shapes, and scales informed by the interplay between the behavior of residents inside and automobile traffic outside. One of the towers is taller and leaner; another more lateral and rectangular. Here, fillets perform not only as an intimate icon, each interacting softly with adjacent housing towers, but also as mediators of the different scales of motions between two different physical bodies–people and cars.

Instagram: @m2c_works

Undefined Parking by Katie Yuan, M.Arch ‘23
University of Southern California | Advisor: Yaohua Wang

The lines drawn on maps to define the borders of countries and territories may appear solid and definitive at a glance. However, when magnified and viewed at a larger scale, these lines are composed of segments, curves, and dashes that intersect, connect, and overlap. Lines are one-dimensional, but when given 3-dimensional qualities, they become less concrete and defined. In other words, when lines are given different widths and heights, they are no longer elements that separate or confine objects, but rather they embody multiple conditions that can become spaces, tectonics, connections, and circulations.  

Formed through a series of intersecting, shifting, and offsetting lines, Undefined Parking appears as an urban boundary that separates the UCLA campus and residential area at an urban scale. In this condition, the boundary becomes a partition wall. At an architectural scale, the parking structure becomes the destination for both entering and exiting the site. Yet simultaneously, the structure’s various programs (offices, classrooms, green space, etc.) blur the distinction between the university campus and the urban site. In this condition, the boundary becomes a destination. At a model scale, the volumes, ramps, walls, and planes are interlocked and joined together through the distinct tectonic elements of each individual piece. In this condition, the boundary becomes a connection. 

Perhaps, lines or boundaries exist in multiple conditions and cannot be defined…

This project was awarded the USC Master of Architecture Distinction in Directed Design Research.

Instagram: @katie0712yl, @yaohua_wwww

High-Rise Building by Jermaine Jones, Dominique Lang, Javon Hayward & Derrick Ayozie, B.Arch ‘23
Prairie View A&M University | Advisor: Huiyi Xu

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s population estimates from 2021, there were 69,094 new residents added to the Greater Houston area. Some developers have purchased land in the Houston City Centre area, on the corner of I-10 Hwy and Beltway 8 in the City Centre, and plan to build an iconic high-rise building. This project is a mixed-use office building. The location of the project is in the Memorial City district of Houston, Texas. City Centre is a 50-acre development with 2.1 million square feet of gross floor space, including 400,000 square feet of retail, restaurants, and entertainment, a 149,000 square foot fitness facility, 425,000 square feet of office space, a variety of rental, and non-rental residential developments: a Microsoft office, Memorial Hermann Hospital, Memorial City Mall, Houston of City College, and diversified restaurants such as Taste of Texas, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, and other retailers are all around it. 

This project will bring more people to this area to contribute to the local business and land value. The potential tenants of the high-end office building with commercial spaces and a parking garage will be the headquarters offices, banks, medical offices, high education offices, etc.

DIGNITY by Macinnis Kraus, M.Arch ‘23
The University of Texas at Austin | Advisor: Nichole Wiedemann

Working with a local church in West Campus and inspired by the student interest in “serving” over “services,” the design is for a re-combination of worship, living, and service. Two transitional housing towers provide residences for formerly itinerate populations and create bookends to the public landscape. The individuals may work here –apprenticing in the artisan maker space or running the restaurant– providing some financial stability for the immediate and the future. In addition, public showers, laundry, and bathroom facilities support the broader community. Embracing the pragmatic and poetic potential of water, light, and body (human-scale moments), the project seeks to provide dignity for all user groups.

This project was nominated for Design Excellence at the UT School of Architecture.

Instagram: @nicholewiedemann

Intertwining blocks in Los Angeles by Joey A. Tomshe, B.Arch ‘23
Tulane University | Advisor: Ruben Garcia-Rubio

Intertwining blocks is proposed to act as an agricultural information and research center for the previously designed master plan, and, in the future, there would be more of these spread out around LA which are connected. It will feature many new innovations in the agriculture field with the goal of informing the public about the advanced research being performed in LA today.

The initial concept for this project was to intertwine four blocks, creating an indoor street that acts as a social condensing space, relating to the distinct street types created in the master plan, with the social condensing space containing lighter elements than the heavier blocks. The project features six types of farms, a mediateque, and research stations for botanists. The form of the social condenser space comes from trees in plan view, then those same circles are introduced in sections to influence the roof. To combat the heat from glass roofs, the proposal will be installed with an automated computer system that processes and manages a database to optimize comfort and energy efficiency. Along the face of the roof structure is a series of operable louvers that can open and close, which allows for natural ventilation as well as sun deflection. Similarly, on the roof the northern faces of the arches can pivot open, allowing for full circulation. Furthermore, the roof allows for rain collection with built-in gutters and features solar panels on the north two blocks. Due to the repetition of louvers on the roof, a facade of varying size stone panels is introduced to disrupt this rhythm and add variation. Some panels were removed for windows and others, on the south facade, were turned into farming panels that interact with the farm in front.

Instagram: @rubgarrub

2023 Study Architecture Student Showcase - Part XXIII

Athletics and wellness are at the forefront of the designs featured in Part XXIII of the 2023 Study Architecture Student Showcase. The displayed projects range from sports centers dedicated to improving the quality of life for those living with disabilities to facilities that draw on the connection between health and design – demonstrating how the built environment can foster healthy lifestyle change.

ENLACE (CONNECTION) by Alejandra Camacho Meza, B.Arch ‘23
Universidad Anáhuac Querétaro | Advisor: Jorge Javier

An Adapted Sports Center can provide a dignified space for those living with a disability or who wish to start a rehabilitation process to improve their quality of life. At the same time, it can empower this “small” sector of the population that not only has a presence in the delegation but throughout the state of Querétaro.

This project was received the Dept. Chair Award Senior Year Capstone and an Honorable Mention at the USGBC Detroit Student Competition

Instagram: @ale_camchomez87 , @arqwave

Sports Recreation Adapting Communities in Puerto Rico by Christian A. Pérez-Montalvo, B.Arch ‘23
Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico | Advisor: Pedro A. Rosario-Torres

The objective of this project is to look for modern and functional architecture that reflects the motivation and enthusiasm of young people and inspires Roberto Clemente’s desire to help young Puerto Ricans come true.

The architectural program calls for a modern educational and sports center in the Roberto Clemente Sports City Park in Carolina, Puerto Rico. The goal is to address the challenges that Puerto Rican youth (ages 13 to 17) face when trying to develop their athletic capacities due to various negative factors that impede their full potential.

The proposal is based on rescuing and renovating the disused existing sports facilities and combining them with an educational purpose that integrates academics and sports, guaranteeing a positive impact on society. The axiality concept focuses on the complex’s functionality, creating a central axis that helps circulation between the different areas.

The architectural design focuses on functionality, accessibility, and youth safety. A sports school and recreation center are designed to function as a dorm, supplying a focus on educational performance and sports therapy. The rooms are spacious, well-lit, and equipped with the necessary elements.

The project is divided into four programmatic phases:

  1. Sports Phase: includes the construction of modern facilities to foster physical development and athletic skills, such as baseball and soccer fields.
  2. Education Phase: includes classrooms, library, and computer rooms to ensure a good educational environment.
  3. Therapeutic Phase: supplies specialized therapies, such as psychotherapy and physical therapy, for those youth who need emotional and physical support.
  4. Dormitories Phase: offers accommodation to young people with athletic abilities and good academic performance, allowing them to improve beyond their limits.

In summary, the proposal looks to turn the Roberto Clemente Sports City into a first-rate educational and sports center, where young Puerto Ricans find support to develop their potential and learn values such as hard work, integrity, and teamwork. The project helps young people from different origins and situations, improving their quality of life and allowing them to develop sports careers, for the country’s benefit.


Instagram: @__chapm1 

Movement Legacy: A Bioethical and Epigenetically Grounded Architectural Framework for Healthy Lifestyle Change Brett Walter, M.Arch (professional degree) ‘23
McEwen School of Architecture, Laurentian University | Advisor: Aliki Economides

Strong correlations between environmental stressors and absolute mortality rates have been shown in medical research for decades. New research in neuroscience, environmental psychology, urbanism, and medicine have identified many of these specific factors, which include quality of light, noise levels, ease of wayfinding, sense of safety, opportunities for socialization, and proximity to nature, however, these are not yet widely understood or adopted by the design community. A novel approach that better leverages the scientific literature to inform design is required. Recent discoveries in epigenetics further reveal the immense impact our environment has on intergenerational human health through a process called epigenomic editing. Simply put, our built environment and the nudges it can provide for better lifestyle choices, such as exercising, can positively impact us via epigenetic mechanisms which change the expression of our DNA. These changes in gene expression improve cellular function making us more resilient to disease and are then passed down to our next generations, thereby providing the blueprint for how our children’s cells will operate.

This thesis argues that design and health are inextricably linked to bioethical questions that require deeper exploration and ought to compel designers to reframe their role and responsibility in community health. A new theoretical framework is developed that aligns design elements at multiple scales with evidence-based principles, which elicit positive health outcomes through increased physical activity prevalence. Informed by the framework, a network of design interventions for Sudbury, Ontario demonstrates how the built environment can foster healthy lifestyle change. The broad accessibility to – and significant impact of – physical activity galvanizes its centrality in the picture for comprehensive public health. When we nurture our physical health, improvements to mood, cognitive function, relationships, sex life, professional life, and longevity follow, bringing positive changes to community mental health, economic strength, and environmental sustainability.

This project received the Thesis Commendation Architectural Research Centre Consortium (ARCC) King Medal for Excellence in Architectural & Environmental Design Research, the TD Bank Graduate Scholarship in Architecture: Design for Human Habitat and the RAIC Foundation Vince Catalli Scholarship for Sustainable Architectural Innovation

Instagram: @brettwltr, @aliki.economides

Kits Pool Redux by Dylan Treleven, M. Arch ‘23
The University of Texas at Austin | Advisor: Kevin Alter

Kitsilano Pool is a popular outdoor swimming facility in the Kitsilano neighborhood of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Situated along the shores of English Bay, the beach and surrounding park were formerly the site of a Squamish first nations settlement before white homesteaders claimed the land in the late 19th century. The pool was built in 1931 and remains one of the largest saltwater swimming pools in North America, measuring 137 meters in length. It is open for swimming during the summer season and provides space for sunbathing, lounging, and picnicking with expansive views of the bay and surrounding mountains.

Rising king tides and increasingly violent storm surges have caused extensive damage to the pool in recent years. In response, the local community is reassessing the viability of its design. Kits Pool Redux proposes a resilient and sustainable reimagining of the pool and park to address the growing challenges posed by climate change while maintaining the recreational functionality and iconic aesthetic presence of the current structures. The project begins with a fundamental acknowledgment that the shoreline is always in flux. Consequently, the old concrete sea wall and swimming basin are to be demolished and reincorporated into a permeable riprap breakwater that lines the beach.

Atop this curving, protective mound of boulders sits a raised boardwalk that connects the high ground at the northeastern and southwestern corners of the park. Like strangely precious flotsam deposited along the shore, the boardwalk is dotted with small attractions such as a camera obscura, a carousel, and a pair of sound mirrors that allow friends to whisper to one another across the bay. At the southwestern tip of the park is perched a distinctive event hall with a café and gathering spaces that greet the urban edge at the highest elevation on the site. At the foot of the hall, the riprap and boardwalk wind outward to form a jetty that further protects the beach waters. It houses restrooms, showers, and saunas while providing moorage for a floating pool-shaped swimming dock that deftly rises and falls with the tides.

This project was nominated for the Design Excellence, Advanced Studio, Spring 2023 Award

Instagram: @dttreleven, @alterstudio

See you in the next installment of the Student Showcase!

2023 Study Architecture Student Showcase - Part XXII

In Part XXII of the Study Architecture Student Showcase, the featured student work addresses agricultural challenges including food deserts, climate change, and disruptions to agricultural production. These thesis projects propose designs that promote community engagement, learning, sustainability and systems to advance sustainable production practices. Browse these outstanding projects and share them with a colleague.

Urban Farmers Market Center by Allyza-Danica Valino, M.Arch ‘23
Lawrence Technological University | Advisors: Daniel Faoro, Eric Ward, Farris Habba & Kurt Neiswender

This project will aim to re-envision urban food systems by providing a programming framework that promotes community engagement and learning. Many urban cities suffer from “food deserts”, places where there is no access to fresh produce. Eastern Market breaks that rhythm in Detroit, and this building will aim to strengthen the market’s presence in the city through greater community engagement. The building will house programs that educate all generations and demographics on urban agricultural practices. Adults can be equipped with skilled agricultural / food science knowledge that may incubate businesses. Children can learn the basics of food preparation and sustainable agriculture. Nonprofits like Gleaners’ Cooking Matters will have spaces to promote their learning programs, which educate lower-income families and individuals on budgeting and healthy cooking. Local organizations that combat social issues such as the Charlevoix Village Association will also have spaces to meet. Ecologically, the building will follow LEED criteria in terms of solar energy collection, sustainable material usage, and promote the existing pedestrian-friendly environment that Eastern Market possesses.  

This project received the Dept. Chair Award Senior Year Capstone, and an Honorable Mention at the USGBC Detroit Student Competition

Agritecture: Integrated Interventions for Agronomy Production by Eixanette Laytung-Bardeguez, B. Arch ‘23
Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico | Advisor: Pedro A. Rosario-Torres

At present, agronomic production processes have acquired crucial importance for the development and success of organizations in various traditional and industrial sectors. However, it is undeniable that they also face a series of challenges and problems that affect their efficiency, quality, and profitability.

The proposal aims to recognize and address these problems in quantity, quality, and regulation losses in production phases under the recognition of reasons such as dependence on arable soils, exposure to climatic and biological factors of the soil, and management situations.

To overcome these difficulties, the Agritecture proposal implements strategies that promote the optimization of production processes by creating a fully regulated ecosystem in laboratory and greenhouse spaces through Agricultural Biotechnology. In this way, certain crop factors such as plant germination, survival against pests, and the different seasons of the year can be guaranteed. These agrobiotechnology methods would promote crop quality and maximize production to four times what would be achieved using traditional methods.

The project located in Lajas, Puerto Rico highlights a context recognized for its scenic and cultural value towards traditional crops. Complying with this site selection criterion, it was necessary to integrate and illustrate the transition of the different production methods in the area from their traditional planting, the combination of methods in an experimental station, and then, the industrial approach through agricultural biotechnology. The rest of the location strategies and the visitor’s route are based on framing the particularity and richness of the context. Conceptually, we can appreciate it on the site plan from the context grid with its planting lots. According to the context organization, the alignments were projected on the perimeter of the site. In it, we see the footprint of the building, three volumes or fragments located in the lots, and projected tours. Seeking to negotiate with the site instead of imposing itself with what is established and at the same time maintaining the vision of the traditional crops of the area.

This project was nominated for the Medal for Excellence in Design, Francisco Luis Porrata-Doria 

Instagram: @elaytung

PLANT: LA by Spencer A. Thornton, B.Arch ‘23
Cal Poly Pomona | Advisor: Mitchell De Jarnett


Spencer A. Thornton

The residents of East Los Angeles currently suffer from a dearth of access to fresh produce. The area has very few options for residents to access fresh, nutritious food. A 2023 study found one in three low income Angelenos experiences food insecurity.

Located at the intersection of Soto St. and Mission Rd., PLANT: LA supports the local community of East Los Angeles through the pairing of a highly lucrative cannabis cultivation business with a neighborhood food charity and urban farm. The profits from the cannabis grow act to subsidize the urban farming component of the project. 

STIIIZY Joint Efforts is the non-profit arm of this major cannabis company. Their Mission statement reads: “GIVE TO GROW – Community matters. It’s what brought us here and helped build our brand. It’s why giving back is just as important as growth, it’s who we are. STIIIZY continues to be one of the most engaged cannabis companies in the industry.”

In partnership with STIIIZY Joint Efforts, PLANT: LA combines three main programs:

  1. An Urban Farm administered by STIIIZY Joint Efforts, where residents and specialists collaborate to grow produce to feed up to 2,640 people. 
  2. Office Space (subsidized by STIIIZY) for related food injustice nonprofit organizations in Los Angeles.
  3. A Cannabis Cultivation and Distribution Facility administered by STIIIZY.

PLANT: LA does not house an on-site retail cannabis dispensary. 

Programmatically the project organization is broken into thirds, the terraced gardens, the cultivation facility, and the tower. Produce is grown in the terraced garden as well as the floors above and below the marijuana grow. It is then packed and either driven across the elevated bridge to the Food Pantry or distributed into Lincoln Heights via automated delivery systems. The cannabis grow is in the middle of the project. The marijuana is grown, dried, and trimmed in this portion of the facility. It is then distributed to STIIIZY dispensaries across LA County. 

The tower is comprised of offices for both STIIIZY Joint Efforts and the LA Food Bank, increasing the philanthropic outreach of PLANT: LA. 

Instagram: @tonofthorn@ seen_in_the_idc

Farm Housing by Miguel Serna, B.A. in Architecture ‘23
University of Illinois at Chicago | Advisor: Alexander Eisenschmidt

West Englewood is a neighborhood on the southwest side of Chicago with a population of 20,000 residents. Ranking fifth out of 77 neighborhoods in Chicago in terms of economic hardship, it is also known as a “food desert.” 51% of residents have been convicted (making it hard for them to find jobs) and 59% of families have reported food insecurities (with 6 out of 10 children living in impoverished conditions). This project, therefore, aims to offer housing as well as jobs for individuals and families in need. It occupies fourteen vacant blocks and is composed of a raised farm, with a public market and community programs below, and two different sets of apartments above. While all units are small, they spatially interlock across two floors, where the bottom floor makes space for a shared corridor between two neighbors, which in turn leads to the main corridor. Each renter is also given a strip of farmland that can be cultivated for consumption or, with the help of local organizations (such as I Grow Chicago and Growing Home), can be sold at the market below.

Instagram: @Eisenschmidt_a

The Dilemma in Detroit by Marina Iodice & Daniella Vlakancic, B.Arch. ‘23
New York Institute of Technology | Advisor: Evan Shieh

Our project was formed off of the challenge to reform underutilized highways in the U.S. into something greater. Given a plethora of highways to choose from, we chose Detroit’s I-375 for a multitude of reasons. While researching we discovered Detroit’s food insecurity struggles, as well as how the highway disconnected and plowed through thriving neighborhoods such as “Black Bottom” when it was created. With this in mind, we decided to create something that would not only reconnect and re-stitch the community back together but also help relieve food insecurity as well. 

We proposed to transform the I-375 into an opportunity to help relieve food insecurity by making it into a prototype test site for farming. We intend to accomplish this by meshing small-scale agriculture and large-scale community gardening. By doing this we hoped to help fill in the missing links in Detroit’s local food economy and also make the process more visible and integrated into the community. We accomplished this through applicable architecture such as a mile-long stretch of greenhouses, an Agrihood (Agricultural neighborhood), community gathering sites, farmers markets, restaurants, community gardens, and even traditional farmland. Our main focus being the Greenhouse and the Agrihood. 

Having greenhouses was crucial to have on our site since we are located in Michigan where there are harsh winters. The greenhouse encases urban farming such as hydroponics as well as community programs such as an amphitheater. The Agrihood was born when we were considering different ways to have the community live and interact not only with food but with each other. It’s a neighborhood that consists of terraced housing/gardens, as well as public amenities. The architecture promotes interaction by including centers to trade crops with neighbors and communal dining.

Instagram: @deesignsss, @marina.designs_, @ev07

Center for the Promotion of Fiesole Organic Olive Oil Farming by Emma Schnelle, Geneva Sinkula & Joseph Eichstaed, M.Arch and B.Arch. ‘23
The University of Texas at Austin | Advisor: Smilja Milovanovic-Bertram

The objective of this project is the design of the Center for the Promotion of Fiesole Organic Olive Oil Farming. Our client is the Association of Biological Organic District of Fiesole, a non-profit association, founded in 2018. It is composed of olive oil-producing farms, municipal administration, university professors, sectors of professionals and private citizens whose aim is the sustainable management of resources of the Fiesole area in the promotion, dissemination and protection of organic production methods in the agricultural field for the community. 

This project won the Design Excellence Award.

The Loop Lisboa: A Closed Loop Approach to Protecting Portugal from the Climate Crisis by Eryn Cooper, B.Arch ’23
New York Institute of Technology | Advisor: Farzana Gandhi

40% of Portugal’s arable land and pastures are increasingly affected by severe drought and rising temperatures. This has resulted in an increased dependence on food imports, which rely on transportation infrastructure that is often compromised due to wildfires, landslides, and floods. This project offers a solution for the city of Lisbon to locally grow crops that have decreased in production due to climate change.  

Situated between the Tagus River waterfront and an existing commuter rail line, the project takes advantage of the site conditions for access to the fishing industry as well as providing multiple means of transporting excess food to communities in need. Formally an oil refinery, this adaptive reuse project transforms the narrative of the site from what was once harmful to the environment to a system that aids communities affected by the climate crisis. 

The project operates as a closed loop, zero waste, climate resilient system comprised of food production, off-grid renewable energy, and public education. Each component of the master plan collects, stores, and utilizes renewable energy to produce food through processes including vertical farming, aquaponics, rooftop farming, and more. In times of crisis, components may operate on a decentralized system as well as adapt to grow several crops in order to supplement the production of decreased crop yields. 

Public paths bring visitors through the heart of production spaces and lead to market areas where visitors develop farm-to-table awareness, thus leaning further into Portugal’s cultural importance on fresh food sources. Acting as a public park as well as a food production system, the complex system of paths allows visitors to have a unique experience upon every visit. Each trail loop provides different insight into the project’s systems relating to energy, markets, transport, water collection, and food production. Through public education, transportation, and resilient food production, this thesis provides a holistic approach to remedying the effects of the climate crisis in Portugal.

This project received the Michael T. Berthold Energy Conservation Award.

Instagram: @eryncooper, @nyitarch

See you in the next installment of the Student Showcase!

2023 Study Architecture Student Showcase - Part XIV

Welcome to Part XIV of the Study Architecture Student Showcase! Today, we take a look at projects that use architecture as an avenue to convey philosophy and storytelling. Inspiration for these pieces ranges from renowned filmmakers and unfinished architectural projects to the study of fluids and memory as a sense of home.

We hope you enjoy this collection of student work and come back next week for a new installment.

A Machine for Living: Re-Provoking the Slow House in Contemporaneity by Russell Harman, B.Arch ‘23
Syracuse University| Advisors: Iman Fayyad, Kyle Miller, and Edgar Rodriguez

A Machine for Living is a thesis that aims to re-provoke Diller + Scofidio’s “Slow House within Contemporaneity.” 

The project began in 1989, but construction stopped shortly after breaking ground due to the client’s own financial limitations. The project took on a new life through its representation when it later debuted for a lecture at Columbia in 1991, which ultimately led to its success and acclimation. 

The site still remains undeveloped, and for the argument of this thesis, the palimpsest of the original construction still exists on the site, making it readily available for a new provocation of what the home could be. 

Similar to the ways that OMA’s exhibition of “La Casa Palestra” offered new readings of the Barcelona Pavilion, this thesis aims to be a contemporary counterpart to the original Slow House.

The plan of the Slow House follows two curves and moves the occupant from the automobile to the view as seen in the picture window juxtaposed to the television screen. It is simply “a means to an end.” 

Deforming the original plan changes the relationship between the occupant and the home. 

A number of possible homes and narratives emerge through iterating the parameters of the home, making the design of Diller + Scofidio one of many that could be derived.

The ultimate one (the provocation of this thesis) becomes enveloped in itself so that the occupants are confronted with being trapped in the cycle of their inhabitance, longing for an escape. It becomes “a means with no end,” or “a means to an end that never ends.” 

The home becomes a composite of its history. And the home itself offers the potential for multiplicity in experiences or a non-singular narrative. 

The two homes thus engage in conversation with one another. This provocation of the Slow House in 2023 is in many ways both a commentary and critique of that from 1991. Their engagement with one another becomes amplified in understanding contemporary domesticity. Through their comparison, the two designs re-invigorate the potential for what the home could be on this vacant site, both in the past and in the present. 

This thesis project won the Syracuse University School of Architecture 2023 James A. Britton Memorial Awards Citation for Excellence in Thesis Design.

Instagram: @rjharman_, @i.fayyad,, @kylejamesmiller, @edgararl

Atlas of Memory: The Representation of the Invisible in Architectural Drawings through Generative Coding by Julia A. Lopez, M. Arch ‘23
Arizona State University | Advisor: Elena Rocchi

Architecture serves as a medium through which our worldview and memories find expression, capable of evoking emotions, silence, and discovery. Within architectural spaces, memory acts as a guiding reference, enriching our understanding of spatial awareness. Inspired by Giuliana Bruno’s “Atlas of Emotion,” Julia Lopez embarked on a transformative journey for her capstone project, seeking to discover her own personal narrative and construct an atlas of memories through the exploration of composition and connections. This endeavor aimed to transcend the limitations of language and discover a visual language of emotions and images that could bridge the gap between people and their invisible memories and dreams, ultimately breaking down barriers.

The research question focused on understanding how to represent the invisible realm and manifest hidden memories and dreams using storytelling, sketches, AutoCAD drawings, and generative coding.

The project began with a comprehensive study of Andrei Tarkovsky, a renowned filmmaker fascinated by the representation of the unseen and the intangible, imparting a distinct presence that shaped the poetic and spiritual essence of memories. Through an analysis of Tarkovsky’s work, the student observed his skill in using light and shadow to evoke stillness and hint at dimensions beyond the visible world of memories. She also discovered his ability to bring attention to imperceptible elements, such as the movement of objects, effectively conveying the distortions of dreams. Building upon her architectural perspective, the project unfolded in two phases, with drawing serving as the core methodology.

In Phase 1, the student explored how to incorporate architecture and the invisibility of memories through storytelling, aiming to forge a new language within the field. Phase 2 delved into advancing architectural representation through generative coding. Leveraging the p5.js script library and TouchDesigner, she created interactive visuals based on narratives, expanding spatial representation through data points. This innovative approach made the invisible visible, enhancing the representation of memories.

Throughout the process, the capstone project took a personal turn as the student documented her grandmother’s life transition and the various states of consciousness she experienced. Considering this as an authentic experiment, she observed her grandmother’s moments of hallucination and integrated her own drawings into the coding program. This generated data points representing her grandmother’s memories, including those recorded during her unconscious moments. By incorporating these sketches, the student aimed to transform them into tangible forms, capturing invisible memories and bringing them to life through drawings and a 5-minute movie.

This project won the TDS Design Excellence Award.

Novel Natures Within Itself  by Cherie Wan and Changzhe Xu, M. Arch ‘23
University of Pennsylvania | Advisor: Simon Kim

There is an architecture that travels within Los Angeles. The building has two states: it collects and it curates. The homunculus’ emergence in the landscape of Los Angeles’ urban fabric began its role as a collector. As it traverses across disparate environments, it collects human waste materials that make up its own body and functioning system. The body is an incubator for a new world. As it accumulates material, new hybrid environments are created until it no longer has the capacity for it. When it reaches this state of death, it deposits new hybrid environments where novel natures are ultimately curated. This cycle repeats itself for as long as civilization persists. Through the lens of homunculi, we are reminded that we must find new, critical ways to reflect on the architecture and monuments we have inherited and to imagine those we have yet to build.

This project was featured in the Fall 2022 Pressing Matters Publication.

Instagram: @cherie.arch, @changzhexu

Fluid Motives: Experimental Connections by Sterling Jones, M.Arch ‘23
University of Idaho | Advisor: Hala Baraka

The study of fluids in motion reveals the open-ended process of becoming, ranging in size from astronomical to atomic. The understanding and depiction of fluids has intrigued many artists and scientists, but its pivotal beginnings belong to Leonardo da Vinci, who documented the foundations of many now-accepted theories and principles centuries before their societal realization. Da Vinci’s methods of thinking, experimenting, and drawing embody a dynamic process of work integral to architecture and visual communication, and it may be his study of fluids that aided in his inventions and was responsible for his underlying genius. Fluid’s natural lack of a boundary creates connections between surfaces, disciplines, and thinking, as well as a framework that relies on other components and interfaces for it to be understood. The study of fluids’ influence on architecture is pinnacle and unrealized as architecture deals often with conceiving a whole made up of many constituent parts. 

Architecture is the convergent reality of divergent design explorations and relies on innovation and the radical repurposing of technology, taking the idea, concept, tool, or method from one intended purpose and using it to address another. “The essential nature of matter lies not in objects but in connections,” and fluid not only generates through transformation and reaction, but also destroys through breakdown and decay. Applying a system of understanding to fluids underlines conceptual frameworks for problem-solving and solution-adapting in both design and operation. A number of fluid experiments and graphic mediums are explored to better understand, visualize, and realize fluid studies’ architectural applications.

This project won the King Medal’s Award.

Instagram: @Sterlingstratfordjones, @Halahb

Composing Persona by Francesca Picard, M.Arch ‘23
University of Southern California | Advisor: Ryan Tyler Martinez

In this thesis, architecture is explored through the lens of persona. What if buildings are just as much of characters in the built environment as the people who occupy them?

This study will explore two main determinants of a building’s persona; form and materiality. The form is seen as the body of a building; its frame, posture, and overall presence. Just as we define characters by their physique, buildings are characterized by their form. Materiality offers another layer of characterization to buildings, through properties of patterns, colors, and textures. Analogous to a character’s wardrobe, materiality defines persona in architecture through ensemble. Together, form and materiality are the elements that propose the tone and character of buildings, not only to people but to their surrounding environment. What happens when these characters interact? How do their personalities communicate with one another?

Intertextuality refers to the idea that every text is in dialogue with other texts, which provides a dynamic, shifting context of meaning. This study aims to investigate the intertextuality of architecture, with a focus on persona. With collage as a way of working and a nod to the exploration of intertextuality, compositions of both form and materiality will be created. These resulting personas will be asked to interact with each other, just as the buildings architects design are asked to speak to their surrounding contexts. Through this exploration, a dialogue on persona in architecture will develop.

This thesis project won the USC Master of Architecture Disciplinary Advancement in Directed Design Research Award – In recognition of the most outstanding graduate final degree project illustrating a critical position that advances the discourse of the architectural discipline.

Instagram: @francescapicard, @ryantylermartinez

Magic of the Real by Nickolas Witt, B.Arch ‘23
University of Arizona | Advisors: Christopher Domin (studio coordinator), Laura Hollengreen, and Jesus Robles


This research cluster seeks to enhance our understanding of light scientifically, technically, and culturally so that we conceive of it as more than that which reveals the “masterly, correct and magnificent play of masses.” It is also something that has physiological, psychological, and affective impacts on us while operating within a dynamic environmental economy of atmospheric and energy conditions. At the same time, the light that accompanies heat can be searing, increasing water evaporation, desertification, urban heat island effects, and other deleterious environmental effects.  The ethical and humanistic dilemmas this causes and the inequitable distribution of impacts across countries and populations are pressing issues to be addressed by designers and policymakers.


In architectural design, “atmosphere” refers to the overall sensory and emotional experience created by a building or space. It encompasses a range of factors such as lighting, materiality, color, texture, scale, and sound, which all work together to create a particular mood or ambiance.

Atmosphere is a critical consideration in architectural design, as it can significantly influence how people experience and interact with a space. For example, a space with warm lighting, soft textures, and natural materials may create an inviting atmosphere, while a space with bright lighting, hard surfaces, and artificial materials may feel more sterile and clinical. Architects often employ atmospheric design strategies to create specific emotional responses in people who use or visit a space. This can include using materials and colors that evoke a certain feeling or controlling the amount and quality of light to create a particular mood. Overall, atmosphere is an important element of architectural design, as it can greatly impact how people perceive and interact with a space. By carefully considering the atmospheric qualities of a building or space, architects can create environments that are both functional and emotionally engaging.  As we design for the present, and the future, we must consider the atmospheres of space and architecture’s lasting impact.

This project received the University of Arizona: School of Architecture Capstone Award and the Rick Joy Award: The Generous Mind.

House(s) of Tethered Fragments, a Consideration of Embodied Images for Memories and Daydreams by Ashley Skidmore, M.Arch. ‘23
The University of Texas at Austin | Advisors: Professor Elizabeth Danze and Professor Kevin Alter

This thesis is a phenomenological and poetic exploration of the relationship between memory and place as it relates to a sense of home. My interpretation of this relationship assumes that memory is held by both the human inhabitant and architecture itself. The former is more straightforward and has been well-trodden by phenomenological writers such as Juhani Pallasmaa and Peter Zumthor, and captured in the paintings of Andrew Wyeth. 

This project is derived not only from an interest in exploring the different impetuses for memory but is also a study of the archetypal images of space carried in the collective unconscious, and how those images drive humans to embody and inhabit a place. These archetypal notions – primordial, fundamental, and deep-seeded – imbue spaces with preconceived, self-evident meaning. By incorporating these interpretations into the design of a house, I am emphasizing the role that home has as a character in the story of a life, and a generator of memory. 

From Jung’s “Man and His Symbols and Bachelard’s Poetics of Space,” I have derived nine archetypal spaces or elements embedded in the home: thresholds, doors, passageways, stairs, cellars/attics, hearths, water basins, nests, and niches. These spaces are consequently frameworks through which to consider how people inhabit their homes through the body – musing on what moments, artifacts, and spaces they attach themselves to. This approach is formed through a deep reading and sympathy for the imagined resident. By deriving spatial images from archetypal notions in the stage-set of a home, it will reveal how impulses for inhabitation are simultaneously individual and more collective. Through this lens, my question is: How can a home be designed to augment these interactions, and cultivate memory, daydreams, and meaning? 

My project is an approach to designing a house by creating a series of vignettes that explore and encourage the embodiment of the identified archetypal spaces. These vignettes are tethered together, or ordered, by the application of specific site constraints. The intention is to suggest that the desires of each room, and the relationships therein, precede any contrived diagram or ordering principle.

St. Vitus Reimagined by Izzy Brehm, M.Arch. ‘23
University of Nebraska–Lincoln | Advisor: Zeb Lund

This project reimagines a small, architectural detail as an occupied landscape for small creatures. It is an exploration of process and an attempt to reimagine how we design space. Depicted in this drawing is a species of small creatures, who have evolved to occupy a man-made column and manipulate it to fit their needs. Taking advantage of the column’s verticality, they have evolved to climb rather precarious surfaces, carve space into stone, anchor into flat facades, employ vertical farming, and cohabitate with bugs and insects. The form of the drawing was inspired by a gothic column at St. Vitus’s Cathedral.

Bigness by Fangshuo Zhao, M.Arch. ‘23
University of Southern California | Advisor: Ryan Tyler Martinez

The one ending of Modernism is Heroism. This should be a dead end with no further believers.

Only if the prosperity and miracle of growth are shut by the miserable reality. Based on the background that social democracy/democratic socialism is losing the battle to Populism and Neoliberalism.

And then, the plague, the unrest, the witch hunt, the populism, the Strongman, the totalism, the authoritarianism, the anarchism, ……

This is the history, but also the actuality.

Heroism as a manifesto and a paradigm evolving from modernism, is being consumed and evolved into a new mutation/variation: Post-Heroism. 

My thesis starting point is not the Heroism Architecture in the past, but the relationship between the old and new heroism, and how this changing relationship could lead to a new form. It is a form that accommodates the mix of force and the cluster of programs.

The two points that define post-heroism are “bigness” and “public Thermae model”. I think “bigness” is becoming more important, especially in this virtual and AI period. Inside the bigness, there will be a magnet to make people get closer, and will be possible to contain more programs, activities, and problems physically. More civic, living, leisure, and culture programs will serve as a modern Thermae, a modern public bath. And Post-Heroism will be the formalism index or paradigm of it.

This project received the USC Master of Architecture Excellence in Directed Design Research Award – In recognition of the most overall outstanding graduate final degree project 

Instagram:  @adamzfs, @ryantylermartinez

Monster Generator by Rose Vito, M.Arch. ‘23
Lawrence Technological University | Advisor: Masataka Yoshikawa

This project started off with a few questions to ponder – do you dream about waves? And do you know what meanings embed your nightmares?

This project began with the cabinet of curiosities. Because of the qualitative nature of this interest, rather than put together a cabinet, I collected objects that had the specific geometries that I could use to tell a story, and the “cabinet” almost immediately took the form of a sculptural representation of human emotions impacted by dreams, which then morphed into what I am calling the Monster Generator.

The background research that went into this work came from the fields of psychology, literature, mythology, and seismology. Literary characters such as Dracula, Frankenstein, and Jekyll and Hyde were developed based on the author’s nightmares. 

As you will see soon, The central images generated were inspired both by these literary works as well as some of my own nightmares. How do they make you feel?

The components of the monster generator are the good which represents the adrenaline of the dreamer which powers the generator. The goo powers the machine and turns the propellers that process the ingredients.

The ingredients include structures that represent proteins, vitamins and minerals, cages for animals, and nets that have captured bugs. I thought it was fun to show the bugs escaping and to pose the question – what happens when the bugs escape?

As the person dreams their adrenaline (goo) displaces the parts of the machine. The seismograph-like structure measures the level of adrenaline and translates the memories, experiences, hopes, and desires into the dream catcher.

Dream catchers catch the bad dreams as they are translated through the fins. The machine struggles to keep up with the constant influx of memories and is in a constant state of regeneration as the dream catchers are used and broken down. As the machine regenerates it evolves and the antiquated seismograph system begins to be replaced with the more modern accelerometer system. This evolution is causing inconsistencies in generator functionality. The system malfunctions and the monsters constructed in the Central Images are more than only alive in dreams.

The Central Images are released from the dream catcher. These elements create the emotional center of the dream or, what is called in psychology, the Central Image – is the “best-remembered” and “most powerful” part of the dream. If we are frightened by our memory of the qualities of the Central Image we label it a nightmare. The Central Images are meant to spark your imagination. The scariest monsters are the ones in our own minds.

Instagram:  @ltu_coad

See you next week for the next installment of the Student Showcase!

2021 Study Architecture Part VI

We are so excited to present another part of the 2021 Study Architecture Student Showcase. This year, we doubled the amount of submissions and will be able to feature over 40 students in this series. Stay tuned for two more posts coming soon. This week, we feature work from Savannah College of Art and Design, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, The University of Texas at Austin, and University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. These students’ work explores the intersection of architecture and memory, feminism, technology, and ecology. Check out Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V.


Antechamber: The Last Nuclear Bomb Memorial by Haili Brown
Savannah College of Art and Design | Advisor: Huy Ngo

In 1945, the United States detonated the world’s first nuclear weapon. It was considered a success, a marvel, and an advancement. It was said to be for the betterment of society. The more they tested, the more they scarred the earth, and the more they scarred the community. The wind blew the scars east. Then, the United States bombed Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The scars stretched further. One hundred thousand people now gone, the whole world watching, and no one moved an inch.

The site that I selected for this memorial was Tippipah Point, Nevada, which falls in Area 16 of the Nevada National Security Site. It is a mountainous peak that rests atop six underground detonations that originally belonged to the Shoshone People but was stolen under the guise that the land would be used for good. This, of course, was a lie. It became a site of mass destruction where military crews would be subjected to nuclear exposure only one mile from ground zero. Many of these troops would report feelings of overwhelming uncertainty and a realization of the malicious power of the bombs. Nevertheless, they remained complicit.

I have designed an experience that will implore the users to reflect on their responsibility, both in life and in architecture, by emphasizing their decisions as they make their way to the finale. This will result in a greater awareness of their actions and the effect they have on themselves and those around them. This is a start toward a more empathetic and socially proactive future. The three ways I planned on doing this were transience, choice, and finality. Transience would urge quick decision-making due to a one-hour time limit on the site, the choice would give the users control over their outcome, and finality would exemplify the permanence of our decisions by allowing users to only enter and exit once.

In the creation of my form, I took an approach of free will; we all start off at different points and we all end at different points based on the reality that we create. This translated into a free-flowing and unpredictable mass, resulting in a series of corridors that would pass through, above, and below each other. All parking plateaus do not lead to all final points, which begin this journey of free will upon entry to the site. In areas where the corridors intersect, users are given a chance to either pull a lever to open one door and close another, or to proceed through the one already open. This makes their decisions deliberate and pointed.

At the end of the corridors rest finale points. There are twelve possible finales that the users may experience. Only some of them have a view of the memorial sculpture below. The outer perimeter houses 3-foot-wide openings that offer the users a personal experience when choosing which view they want to take in, while the inner ring remains open to forge a more collective experience. The decision of which one to ruminate within is left up to the user.


On Beauty and Power: A Female “Cyborg-ienne” Phenomenon by Cayce J. Anthony, M.Arch ‘21
University of Tennessee at Knoxville | Advisors: Mark Stanley, Jeremy Magner, Jennifer Akerman
Awarded the 2021 Faculty Thesis Award

Power camouflages itself with beauty and grafts itself into our societies through covert cultural and political operations that influence individual perceptions and behaviors—what we pay attention to, follow, purchase, believe—until we, humankind, adapt, conform, or become socially “othered.” 

Few spatial realities embody the tension between these immaterialities as the female form.

Power leverages beauty to reinforce the existing social strata—one that relies on a western-American beauty tradition that is aggressively, and often maliciously, thin, white, and youthful.  

This project fabricates environments, objects, and ultimately subjects that complicate and push back into the established social strata and beget a more autonomous, hybridized, “cyborg-ienne” female phenomenon, to speculate how beauty and power might be reprogrammed in future social mutations and to question our contemporary moment.

Follow Cayce on Instagram: @cayce.anthony


Foreign + Familiar by Bella Chou, Coleman Brink, and William Hachtman
The University of Texas at Austin | Advisor: Kory Bieg
2020-21 Design Excellence Award Winner: (Internal UTSOA award)
Pending upcoming feature in Tribeza, a local magazine in Austin

Technology is ubiquitous. Our relationship with electronics, both hidden and overt, has become integral to our everyday lives and has reformed how we interact with and perceive the world around us. In the perpetual pursuit of utopia, futuristic machines constantly propose a new and improved way of living. Some prospective technologies speculated to become part of our contemporary lives include flying cars, nanobots, and 3-D printed food. While many of these proposals seem to be more applicable to temporally distant societies, our rapidly changing environment and needs suggest these future technologies could be implemented in the near, rather than distant, future. Despite the vision of a seamless integration of these technologies, a question of the spatial requirements to house these technologies arises.

Technology is a tool to change how we live, but contrary to our reliance on it to complete even the most mundane of tasks, technology is often tucked away in the periphery of our buildings and minds. Our project explores ideas of human viewership and interaction with the digital. Set in a near, speculative future, we wanted to confront our complacency of existence—what are the implications of space-making with a non-human centered focus? Architecture as a discipline has become constrained. In our constantly changing world, architecture is stable. Our explorations play with destabilizing the status quo. Programmatically, our project is a spectrum of human occupation, with technology taking precedence while humans become the periphery. Our projects are highly speculative, but rooted in our observations of human interactions with technology. This is just one of many potential futures.

This studio was broken into two parts. The first being entirely group-focused where the overall formal and site developments were made. In accordance with the studio’s vision, all this was done using Grasshopper, machine learning, and scripting. Therefore, all the exterior and formal elements seen were developed using this process.

The second half of the course was focused on individual projects and developments within the larger context and narrative of the site. For this, each group member focused on an object scale applying to the overarching narrative, and then designed this object to their selected building’s program. These programs were applied to various buildings across the site ranging in size and complexity.

All portions of the projects were targeted and designed for a virtual reality experience, as required by the studio. With that in mind, each individual project was designed with immense detail and immersion, allowing for a user to be consumed by their future world. Every interior and render is meant to be experienced with this perspective. 

Generating a project with this methodology required a strong sense of vision and communication. Our narrative was the centerpiece in developing a cohesive project, while allowing each team member to explore a “future” technology that they thought would influence architecture and the project statement. This is the future that we envision to be familiar, but greatly foreign. 

Follow them on Instagram: @colemanbrink, @ciaobellabellachou, @will_hachtman


Water! Please: Remember, Reveal, Reconnect by Maria Pozo & Adele Isyanamanova
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | Advisor: Professor Bartumeus
First Place (tie) for Graduate Studio Award

Sant Feliu de Llobregat, an industrial and agrarian city in Catalonia, Spain, is historically familiar with the destructive and dangerous consequences of seasonal flooding, but it also experiences a lack of water most of the year. Smart water management is necessary for the region, but the municipality cannot afford expensive infrastructure that would solve the problem quickly. How do we manage water with as little intervention as possible? How do we activate water memory and connect people to the essence of the place? How do we use water to promote biodiversity and ensure sustained ecosystem health? 

This design proposal achieves three interconnected objectives: remembering the industrial and ecological history of Sant Feliu de Llobregat, revealing the previously hidden life of water in the city and beyond, and reconnecting human and non-human ecosystems through water.


BOUAZIZI OPPORTUNITY CENTER: A Global Icon and a Local Resource by Bryan Samuel & Francisco Hernandez, M.Arch ‘21
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | Advisor: Professor Murray
First Place (tie) for Graduate Studio Award

In recent years, a relatively small country has had an outsized influence on the Arab world due to the promulgation of protests via social media. From the self-immolation of a lowly street cart vendor to the dethroning of decades-old dictatorial regimes, the internet has become synonymous with one word in Tunisia: revolution.

Protests have continued into 2021. While the Arab Spring addressed some issues of democracy and freedom of expression, economic issues continue to affect Tunisian quality of life. The Bouazizi Opportunity Center is a community internet center in Tunis, Tunisia, but it is also much more than that. It provides studios and workshops for personal skill development as well as a physical and digital marketplace to provide a direct avenue toward economic independence. The Bouazizi Opportunity Center is a resource to the local community and a global symbol for hope and unity.



For more student projects, check out Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V



2021 Study Architecture Student Showcase - Part IV

Welcome back for Part IV of the Study Architecture Student Showcase. This week, we are featuring award-winning work from architecture students hailing from University of Pennsylvania, Savannah College of Art and Design, and The University of Texas at Austin. Make sure to check out Part I, Part II, and Part III. Follow along on Instagram @imadethat_. 


Cloned and Clashed by Megan York, M.Arch and Eddie Sheng, M.Arch
University of Pennsylvania | Advisors: Ferda Kolatan + Caleb Ehly
Published in UPenn’s journal, Pressing Matters 10, published in Summer 2022

Iconoclash is when one does not know, one hesitates, one is troubled by an action for which there is no way to know, without further inquiry, whether it is destructive or constructive.
—Bruno Latour, ICONOCLASH: Beyond the Image Wars in Science, Religion, and Art

The question of what is original and what is replicated is posed within the new nature of this artificial landscape. The original and the clone are lost in translation as they interrelate within a new technologically driven environment.

The New York Savings Bank building evokes the spirit of capitalism and value in its late 19th century aesthetic. The dialogue of the mundaneness of the machine and the spectacularity of the monument are also questioned; how to make them one and the same and equivocally present. The machinery of the cloning mechanics inherently clashes with the presence of monumental aesthetics.

The new monument generates a series of dialogues in relation to the power of value in technology, what we perceive as original and replicated, the homage toward the gleam of temples, and the interdependent relationship of the mundane and the spectacular. Columns clash with ventilation, ziggurats clash with machines, and intricate drums clash with new materials and synthetic environments, inevitably redefining the role of the monument in contemporary times.


AREA 10 by Sophie Liu Ribeiro Da Silva, B.F.A. in Architecture
Savannah College of Art and Design | Advisor: Daniel Brown
Awarded the Chair’s Senior Design Achievement Award for SCAD | Featured on Dezeen

As part of the Nevada Testing Site, Yucca Flat was the host for over 900 bomb tests. In the end, at over 300 feet deep and measuring 1,150 feet in diameter, Sedan Crater is the site for AREA 10. It will inform people of the consequences of nuclear war on humanity and nature through learning spaces that use exhibitions, viewing points, and atomic gardening. The goal is for the visitor to leave with a deeper understanding of history and a sense of growth from this dark past.

With the site being heavily contaminated by radioactivity, the challenge was to find solutions to how to create a lively building in such a deeply scarred place. Janice C. Beatley started research on the flora of the Nevada Testing Site. However, she passed before she could complete her thesis, so the site is a research center for atomic gardening – a method where radioactive water genetically modifies plants so that they can grow even in contaminated soil. Apart from that, the communities surrounding Yucca Flat were deeply affected by the water and soil contamination, therefore, the building functions on a living machine that collects water from the contaminated soil and purifies it through the plants themselves. When you are walking to the building, you are walking between mass destruction and the possibility of growth. As you learn from the spaces and absorb the deep, and rich history of the site and nuclear war, you ascend to the top of the tower. In the end, you can see the entirety of Yucca Flat and all of the gardens planted inside the craters, giving a sense of catharsis from all the heavy information that you have absorbed.

In terms of programming, there will be a lot to do and explore. The one thing that an 18-story tall building in the middle of the vast Nevada desert can do is plant curiosity in those who are visiting. It is with this curiosity that they are intended to explore the learning and experiential spaces that AREA 10 provides. Not only will there be areas with panels of information about the site and nuclear war, but in the library, visitors can research more of the site’s history. In the laboratory, they can experiment with plants and their possibility to grow. There are video rooms with reels of the explosions of the 1950s in the site and a bleacher configuration that sits in the crater, recreating the experience of someone watching the bombs going off. Throughout the upward journey, there are classrooms where you can take summer classes to learn about the genetics of plants and their modifications. There are also contemplation pods where you can only see the nature surrounding you, inciting a more spiritual connection. There is even a sensorial space, where you can experience the presence of noise and echoes, before entering a room that is completely noise-canceling to simulate how your hearing becomes numb after an explosion.

Follow Sophie on Instagram @sophielribeiro




In’terminal: Reunion District by James K. Jung, M.Arch ‘21
Savannah College of Art & Design | Advisor: Huy Sinh Ngo
Featured on Dezeen | AIA Merit Award For Outstanding Thesis Project,  AIA Henry Adams Medal, Peer Choice Outstanding Thesis Award, & Dean’s Award in Architecture

In’terminal is a multi-modal transit hub that embodies the transformative power of architecture in the creation and evolution of the built environment. Redefining streets not only as spaces in-between but as places to promote social interaction and refuge, the project aims to promote a sustainable urban lifestyle by transforming an abandoned parking garage into social infrastructure. By reconciling mobility as the public realm prioritizing social capital, In’terminal adopts placemaking strategies layered in rich, shared spaces where a community becomes the domain of many; a common network and a fabric woven with empathy to unify social identity and sense of belonging.

The site is located south of downtown Dallas near the entrance to the city passing the Trinity River that is connected by two bridges: Jefferson Blvd Viaduct and Houston St Viaduct. The site is an abandoned parking garage structure of about 160,000 square feet. The ground floor also consists of parking lots that are underutilized after the demolition of the Reunion Arena in 2009. 

There are diverse communities surrounding the Reunion District, including low-income neighborhoods, Hispanic communities, and young metro-renters in downtown Dallas. By adapting and reusing the abandoned parking garage, In’terminal investigates future mobility through the realm of architecture by integrating the redefinition of streets as more than spaces in-between buildings or the lowest level of access for the public. Instead, it proposes a multipurpose “archetype,” which allows accessible social activities that catalyze intermodal connections between air and ground movements to the last mile of users’ journeys: biking and walking.

The ground level and second level of the hub are a mixed-use program that encourages social connectivity open to the public by creating diverse novel activities and essential infrastructures promoting the health and well-being of the public. The third level is parallel to the bridge level which is the spine between the city of Dallas and the suburban districts. It also crosses the Trinity River where the bridge proposed to be reimagined as a pedestrian-friendly promenade connects the surrounding districts to the Trinity River development.

Follow him on Instagram: @faithfulnes / @archiosaurus 


A School for Colombo by Brandon Raettig and Yossef Shabo
The University of Texas at Austin | Advisor: ​​Professor David Heymann
Recipient of the  Editors Choice Award in a UNI Competition, 2020-21 Design Excellence Award,

Located within Rajagiriya, a suburb just outside of Colombo, Sri Lanka, we have proposed a speculative school for the performing arts that desires to function as a “well” for its community. Two principles drove the design from the earliest phases: 

  • The community must always have space to gather no matter what conditions exist on the ground plane.
  • The school must be viewed as “incomplete” because finished architecture cannot meet the needs of a changing society.

With climate change becoming a more pressing issue every year, the city of Colombo and its suburbs must brace themselves for far more flooding. The norm in civic architecture today is to place public spaces at the ground level. However, when floods occur, these spaces are no longer hospitable. Due to our proximity to a canal that harbors deadly viruses, the problems are only multiplied. With the insertion of our school, we strive to create a space that maintains the possibilities of public ownership. Our bowl condition acts as a dam to preserve safe spaces within and above. In dire conditions, the public may arrive at our school by either boat or floating debris, where they can find temporary refuge in the form of fresh water, food, and shelter. When the ground plane becomes habitable, the edge condition where the perimeter walls meet the ground becomes a hub for local artisans and vendors to meet their community. 

Bamboo serves an important role within our proposal, acting as a binding agent to bring the community and the performers at the school together. Fifteen percent of the site is dedicated to the cultivation of bamboo; this farm is housed within the center of the project, establishing a zone we have named the oasis. It is the role of nature to enhance the tranquility of the spaces. The dense plantings additionally reduce the heat load of the mass by reducing the sun’s direct contact with the surfaces. As the bamboo culms reach maturity, they are used for the construction of the tower’s bamboo screen as well as for the shelter pods during flooding. This is where the concept of the “incomplete” comes into play. The quick growth cycle of bamboo means that the material is almost always available. As space to shelter the community becomes a priority, structures can be assembled quickly to meet this need. Hypothetically, the scaffolding of the tower could be positioned in any direction, allowing for constant flexibility. 

Follow them on Instagram: @brandon.raettig and @youssefshabo.


Shibuya Urban Theatre by Taisuke Wakabayashi & Emily Tejeda-Vargas
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | Advisor: Professor Botond Bognar
Finalist for the Graduate Studio Award 

Tokyo’s most famous characteristics are the crowded streets, busy crosswalks, and covered architecture. Facades are infested by billboards, ads, and banners and are indeed the main economic, socio-cultural, and geo-specific feature of the site. Recognizing the facade of advertisements as a typology, we’re proposing an anti-type. In this project, rather than more billboards, we are proposing that the program, activities, and movement of people become the ad; the real face of urban life. 

If someone approaches the building from the east, crossing Shibuya Square, they face a three-story open plaza full of art installations. There, they’ll meet the travelers from the underground train, the workers, and the students, using the cafes and stores from the basement and first level. If one continues through the grand stairway, they will find the second level; a green viewpoint, to sit, relax, and contemplate the first show: the city. On the third and fourth floor, we find the semi-public library and private studios for worldwide famous artists conducting their next groundbreaking project. A curved ramp takes you from the fifth to the seventh floor, through the temporary gallery where a fashion show might be taking place, and to the main hall for private events and outdoor seating. From the eighth to the ninth floor, there is a permanent gallery for conventional art collections next to an outdoor amphitheater. The 10th floor is for the nightclub, bar, and restaurant, facing the best views of Tokyo and ascending to an 11th floor green terrace at the very top. 

This is how the project not only includes museums, installations, art galleries, libraries, outdoor galleries, cafes, a Nike Think Tank, and an urban theater but becomes the Urban Theatre. By turning activities, or rather the visibility of activities into the advertisement, this project aims to respond to economic needs and financial feasibility, while creating exposition and interconnectivity where people meet and manifest.