Two recent graduates of the Masters of Architecture program have been recognized for design excellence at this year's Washingtonian UNBUILT Awards by the Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Architects ( AIA|DC). Hong Zhu and Jessica Pagan Aello, who both earned their Masters in Architecture in May, won awards for their final thesis projects. Professor of Architecture Matt Bell was also recognized for a DC project in development with his firm EE&K a Perkins Eastman Company.
The UNBUILT awards recognize excellence in academic, theoretical and other projects that, to date, remain unbuilt. This year's competition hosted over 91 entries from students, emerging professionals and professional architects from the Washington area. The thirteen winners chosen by the jury were comprised of five students, four emerging architects and four professionals.
Zhu's project was one of four entries that received an Award of Excellence, the competition's top prize. Her entry, entitled "Tradition, Present and Future: Dwelling in Suzhou", used the ancient city of Suzhou, China as a case study. It aimed to address the loss of Chinese tradition caused by contemporary housing by combining the best of traditional and modern housing typologies.
"Suzhou is a city with 2500 years of history preserved in its landscape but at the same time has embraced modern times and technology," explained Zhu, of her project's primary challenge. "The project seeks to revitalize the ancient in a modern landscape."
Pagan Aello's entry, which was one of nine entries to receive an Award of Honor, was entitled "Capturing and Patterning Orphan Space". The project focused on the area of Langley Park, Maryland, combining landscape, architecture and infrastructure elements to address residual space problems.
Matt Bell and his firm EE&K a Perkins Eastman Company, also received an award of honor for their North Capitol Street project in DC entitled "Gateway to the City". The project was praised by the jury for its smart urban design and great public spaces, calling its transformation of a traffic intersection "an urban design event."
"It is outstanding to see so many of our students and faculty recognized in such a prestigious competition," said David Cronrath, Dean of the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. "Hong, Jessica and Matt should be commended for their exceptional projects."
The project winners were on display during this year's DesignDC conference in June.
The School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at the University of Maryland is home to four academic disciplines: architecture, urban planning, historic preservation and real estate development. Committed to educating its students and community about the importance of sustainability and smart growth, the School practices an interdisciplinary approach to education, research, creative work, and community and professional service. For more information, please e-mail us or call 301.405.8000.
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