AIA Central States Competition

Mirroring the Void, perspective.

MArch team wins student competition

Posted by Katherine Welsch October 29, 2014

A team of Sam Fox School Master of Architecture students took first place in the AIA Central States Student Design Competition, which took place October 23 in Springfield, Missouri.

Twelve teams from eight schools participated in this year's competition, which took the form of a 16-hour design charrette. The program was a combination of a FEMA storm shelter and community maker space. Teams were challenged to integrate the given programs, and to interweave the cultural and environmental contexts of the site and their own design values, in order to create a project that was appropriate to the site and unique to the culture of downtown Springfield.

Mirroring the Void

The Sam Fox School team included students Joshua Chan, Emily Chen (MArch/MLA dual degree), Gabee Cho, and Rolando Lopez-Lopez, with visiting assistant professor Jesse Vogler serving as the faculty advisor.

"Our site selection took into account the strong sectional change from South Avenue to Patton Avenue, and an opportunity within the site to create a building that contributes positively to the urbanity of Downtown Springfield," the team noted in its presentation. "The strong east-west directionality created a matrix from which we drew. The main idea was to 'mirror the void,' creating a courtyard on the west side that mirrors the existing passthrough, mitigating the depth and darkness of the block.

"Drawing from the existing access from South Avenue, the building is experienced in three wings, joined together by a circulation core and focused around an exterior courtyard. The most prominent space in the building is given to the maker's shop, where community and technology come together, centering around a generous and open maker's courtyard that encourages an open-source mentality.

"The building addresses the strict requirements of FEMA shelters by utilizing the existing passthrough, as well as an internalized space, to accommodate 1,000 people. During times of repose, the spaces become exhibition and collaboration space for both makers and workers.

The team was awarded $1,000 and the Traveling Heartland Prize Trophy for its winning project. The jurors were: Russell A. Davidson (chair), FAIA, 2015 AIA First Vice President and 2016 AIA President; Dale McKinney, FAIA, NCARB President; and Edward Richardson Brya, AIA, Adjunct Instructor at University of Arkansas.

"We were honored to represent Washington University in the Central States region, and proud to bring the Traveling Heartland Prize Trophy to the School to share this accomplishment," Cho says.