University Of Virginia Graduate Architecture Students Receive Merit Award In International Design Competition To Rebuild New Orleans

May 11, 2006 — University of Virginia School of Architecture graduate students Justin Laskin and Kathleen Mark received a merit award in an international design competition held by McGraw-Hill Construction’s Architectural Record in partnership with Tulane University’s School of Architecture.

Their entry was recognized as one of the top five entries in the competition, which was conceived to develop housing ideas for hurricane-ravaged New Orleans.

Designs by Lorenzo Battistelli and Kristin Hennings, and Alli Dryer and James Pressly were chosen for exhibition as was a project submitted by architecture school faculty members Judith Kinnard and Kenneth Schwartz with alumnus Kathleen Kambric.

The students competed with professionals and were recognized for their talents from the 275 entries. The judges selected two winners, three commended projects and about 20 others for exhibition.

Each proposal in the competition, “Higher Density on Higher Ground,” envisioned a small but dense community of housing composed of 140 units with retail spaces on “higher ground” by the Mississippi River that could help alleviate the overwhelming need to provide housing and bring people back to the city.

Students in associate professor Maurice Cox’s spring semester design studio took on the competition as their semester project, working in pairs. Five projects were developed and submitted to the competition.

The competition allowed the students, as practicing architects, to “balance their interest in design in its purest form and design as altered by the realities of building post-Katrina,” Cox said. “It was a call to answer real problems of rebuilding New Orleans.”

Projects by finalists are currently on display at New Orleans’s Ogden Museum of Art and will be exhibited at the American Institute of Architects convention in Los Angeles in June. Winning designs will be published in the June issue of Architectural Record magazine with selected designed posted on the McGraw-Hill Construction Web sites.

U.Va. was the only school with three student projects represented in the exhibit in New Orleans’ Ogden Museum of Art, Cox said.

About the U.Va. School of Architecture

The University of Virginia, since its founding by Thomas Jefferson, has supported a public mandate to educate and develop our democratic culture. As part of this larger mission, the School of Architecture focuses on analysis and design of the public realm, or the “Architecture of Urgent Matters.” Just as democratic culture is a dialogue and cooperative effort of individuals, design in the public realm is a discussion and joint effort of individual disciplines.

The School of Architecture, composed of four well-defined disciplines — architecture, landscape architecture, history of architecture, and urban and environmental planning — promotes design as a conscious act, which may be associated with the public realm and the values of that culture.