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NORTHFIELD, Vt. — Norwich University’s School of Architecture + Art, part of the College of Professional Schools, announced the winners of this year’s high school student architecture and design competition that offers university scholarships as prizes.

An awards ceremony was held remotely Dec. 4.

Students were invited to participate as an individual or in a team of up to four members. Architecture + Art professors guided and assisted entrants during the competition and before submission.

This year’s challenge was designing a “pocket place,” an outdoor gathering space; needs for such spaces have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Norwich received 88 registrations with 52 completed submissions, from nine states (California, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Texas, Vermont and Virginia) and eight countries abroad (Bahrain, Bangladesh, India, Morocco, Nepal, Rwanda, Uganda and Uzbekistan). Submissions were awarded first, second and third place with three honorable mentions. An additional award was presented by the University’s Center for Global Resilience and Security for the project best addressing resilience.

This is the second year Norwich offered the competition. This year’s challenge was designing a “pocket place,” an outdoor gathering space; needs for such spaces have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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This year’s Norwich University’s 2021 School of Architecture + Art high school student architecture and design competition challenged students to consider the advantages of outdoor gathering spots and how the space could be used. (Photo courtesy School of Architecture + Art/Norwich University.)

The prompt challenged students to consider the advantages of outdoor gathering spots and how the space could be used. Competition details and project guidelines are here.

The first-place prize is an $8,000 scholarship. The other scholarships are $4,000 for second place, $3,000 for third place and for the Global Resilience and Security award and $2,000 scholarship for each complete entry. These scholarships can count toward tuition or any other Norwich expenses.

A seven-person jury judged the entries and announced the awards at a December 4 event online. The jury included College of Professional Schools Dean Aron Temkin; School of Architecture + Art Director Cara Armstrong; Associate Director of the School of Architecture + Art Tolya Stonorov; CityLab:Berlin Program Director and architect Christian Dengler; Vermont Architect Gregg Gossens of Gossens Bachman Architects; Sarah Emily Colby, CEO of Colby Company LLC, Engineering & Design and chair of the Norwich University Board of Fellows Architecture + Art visiting committee; and School of Architecture + Art alumni, Kenechukwu “Kene” Onwe.

“The jury was very encouraged by the diversity and breadth of this year’s entries,” College of Professional Schools Dean Aron Temkin said. “The pandemic has been a challenge for all, but the students’ solutions show their great ability to rethink how we may accommodate shared experiences safely in both urban and rural settings.”

The winners:

— Filip Trana, of California, took first prize for his project, called the Polk Emplacement (detail pictured above).

Trana described the project, named for James K. Polk, the 11th U.S. president, and placed on coastal marshlands in Corte Madera, California, as an astronomy-focused gathering place for up to 15 people.

“The functionality for telescopes will be a main activity for the building and is intended as a central point for discussion about astronomy,” Trana wrote.

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The Polk Emplacement, named for the 11th U.S. president, James K. Polk, is designed for placement on coastal marshlands in Corte Madera, California, as an astronomy-focused gathering place for up to 15 people. (Photo courtesy School of Architecture + Art/Norwich University.)

Spencer Barras, of Corte Madera, California, took second place, for a design that was partially underground and used green walls and a green roof for soundproofing and to promote environmentalism.

Denia Mittleman, of Tiburon, California, placed third for a design of an outdoor café in an alley between two buildings that addressed women’s safety issues in forgotten spaces such as a city alleyway. 

Samuel Zlot, of Kentfield, California, received this year’s resilience award from the Center for Global Resilience and Security. His design focused on an underserved community, for which he provided a new library and internet hub, all contained in a bus stop.

Honorable mentions went to Ahmad Djihad of Manama, Bahrain; Jack Callaghan of Mill Valley, California; and Lucas Nacamuli of Greenbrae, California.

“It was fantastic to see the students’ creative solutions to the prompt: how we can carve outdoor spaces into our existing urban fabric to gather safely during the pandemic,” Stonorov said. “We were thrilled to have an international response to the competition and to be able to offer multiple scholarship awards.”

* * *

About Norwich University’s Design+Build Collaborative
As the only university in northern New England to offer integrated professionally accredited programs in Architecture, Business, Engineering, Construction, and Nursing, Norwich’s Design+Build Collaborative calls on students to “act as well as conceive” and create solutions for local, regional, and global challenges. For more than 20 years, our students have been addressing Vermont community needs through the construction of full-scale projects. Building on the seven different affordable housing prototypes Norwich has developed since 2011, the collaborative not only continues to design and prototype regionally informed, resilient housing, but also organizes and coordinates related research and programs between the schools that make up the College of Professional Schools and partners with community organizations. Norwich University announced in February 2019 a $200,000 grant from TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, to fund the development of a collaborative in the College of Professional Schools dedicated to producing affordable homes.

About Norwich University
Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in baccalaureate and graduate degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by U.S. Army Capt. Alden Partridge and is the nation’s oldest private military college. Norwich is one of our nation's six Senior Military Colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). www.norwich.edu

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