The winners of the 2023 Concrete Masonry Student Competition have been announced by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) and the National Concrete Masonry Association Education & Research Foundation (NCMAFDN).
The competition celebrates exceptional student projects that demonstrate how community centers can be used for education, recreation, networking events, and more. The program challenged participants to utilize concrete masonry products as the primary material in the design of a state-of-the-art Community Commons for gathering, play, and shelter.
Five projects, First, Second, and Third place winners, along with two Honorable Mentions, were chosen by a jury consisting of Niloufar Emami out of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Robin Planas Casado from the Universidad de Puerto Rico, and Marcus Shaffer from the Pennsylvania State University.
Below are the names of the winning projects, the teams behind them, and comments from the jurors.
First Place: CMU Park
Students: Siwei Su & Jiaqui Xu
Faculty Sponsor: Clark Llewellyn
Collaborators: Ferdinand Johns, Stephen Huh & Marion Fowlkes
Institution: University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Juror Comments: "CMU Park is a top-winning design using masonry units in unique ways. The beautiful drawings and commendable presentation show the students are adventurous in their design. The jury enjoyed the imaginative take of playing with the block to conceptualize formal characteristics and highlights the material versatility."
Second Place: Fifth Ward Haven
Students: Ava Chen, Yifei Zhang, Zee Zeng, Alejandra Lezcano & Michael Zhong
Faculty Sponsor: Jesus Vassallo
Institution: Rice University
Juror Comments: "Fifth Ward Haven has eye-catching axonometric drawings and amazing renderings. The design plays with the masonry units to create a grand community space. Overall, a delightful project showcasing the use of block."
Third Place: Mechanica
Student: Payton Rohrbaugh
Faculty Sponsor: Margaret McManus
Institution: Savannah College of Art and Design
Juror Comments: "Mechanica has an appealing presentation through its material palette, clear drawings, and beautiful detailing. The student understands how the building will work in extreme conditions. The overall space is welcoming and beautiful."
Honorable Mention: Nova Commons
Students: Victoria Cheung, Eldar Latif & Fairuz Sowma
Faculty Sponsors: Robert Holton, Kristopher Palagi & Tara Street
Institution: Louisiana State University
Juror Comments: "Nova Commons receives an honorable mention for using masonry units to create a sustainable water collection system. The beautifully imagined project designs a community building for commuters and the city."
Honorable Mention: A Tale of Two Mountains
Student: Joshua Yarbrough
Faculty Sponsor: Marika Snider
Institution: University of Memphis
"A Tale of Two Mountains is a well-executed design using beautiful hand drawings and sketches. The overall form with a porous skin and custom unique blocks is inventive and imaginative."
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