U.Va. Projects Win NCARB Prizes; EcoMOD Sweeps Major Architectural Education Awards

March 21, 2007 --The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards Prize jury has selected the University of Virginia as the $25,000 grand prize winner and one of five $7,500 finalists of the 2007 NCARB Prize for Creative Integration of Practice and Education in the Academy. Former NCARB president Frank M. Guillot, FAIA, and jury chair Barbara A. Sestak, AIA, announced this year’s prize winners on March 10 at the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture national convention.

The ecoMOD Project, directed by assistant professor of architecture John Quale, received the $25,000 Grand Prize. The prize makes U.Va. the first university — and ecoMOD the first project — to receive all three major architectural education awards in the same year, following the recent awarding to ecoMOD of the American Institute of Architects National Education Honor Award and the American Collegiate Schools of Architecture Collaborative Practice Award. The NCARB Prize jury noted that the ecoMOD project involved “an extraordinary array of collaborators and a real balance among all the participants.” Professor of engineering P. Paxton Marshall is the ecoMOD engineering director and Barrett Eastwood (BSArch’03, MArch’05) is the ecoMOD construction director.

"There's a lot of terrific initiatives in architectural education these days, so we're honored to have received all three of these significant awards,” Quale said. “From what I hear, the jurors for each award were impressed by the commitment to quality design, sustainability and affordable housing within the interdisciplinary project, as well as the connection between faculty design research and teaching. The jurors made comments about the relationship with the engineering school, so these awards also honor the work of my colleague, engineering professor Paxton Marshall, and all of his students.“

ecoMOD is a research and design/build/evaluate project whose purpose is to create well-designed, affordable housing prototypes that are modern, modular, environmentally responsible and energy efficient through a partnership of the architecture and engineering programs. This is a multi-year project of interdisciplinary teams of architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, historic preservation, business, environmental science and economic students. Students work closely with a variety of design and business professionals throughout all three phases of the project. Over the next several years, U.Va. students and faculty are creating several prefabricated houses through partnerships with Piedmont Housing Alliance of Charlottesville and Habitat for Humanity International.  Compared to other design / build projects around the country, ecoMOD is unique in its focus on rigorous sustainability, prefabrication and the commitment to thoroughly evaluate each project.

“The NCARB Prize money will be used to support student fellowships this summer for the construction phase of ecoMOD3,” Quale said. “I'm in the midst of trying to raise money for fellowships -- and this is a big help."

The Learning Barge Project, directed by assistant professor of architecture Phoebe Crisman, received one of five $7,500 awards. The project has won other important accolades, including the American Society of Landscape Architects Student Collaboration Award of Honor in 2006. The NCARB jury noted, “The project is a tremendous regional educational tool for the public at large and gives the public the opportunity to experience the waterway.”

Crisman said, "While demonstrating the didactic value of architecture for public environmental education, the project establishes a proactive model of both service-learning and professional engagement in the academy"

The purpose of this multi-semester, interdisciplinary project is to design and build the Learning Barge, a floating, self-sustaining field station located on one of the most polluted tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay. Moving to a different restoration site every few months, the Learning Barge is designed to teach the public about the tidal estuary ecosystem, wetland and oyster bed restoration and remediation efforts. It also is designed to teach about sustainable power generation, water collection and water filtration using native plants. Powered entirely by solar and wind energy systems, the 30 ’x 120’ barge will provide a high-profile, memorable hands-on demonstration of the river’s ecosystem challenges and conservation needs for students in grades K-16 as it moves between ongoing restoration sites.

School of Architecture Dean Karen Van Lengen noted, “We are very proud of Phoebe and John for their excellent work with the students and their commitment to innovative design for the future.”

For more information on ecoMOD, visit: www.ecomod.virginia.edu

For more information on the Learning Barge, visit: www.arch.virginia.edu/learningbarge

The 2007 NCARB Prize jury comprises the members of the Council’s Practice Education Committee and six deans (or department heads or chairs) of NAAB-accredited architectural programs chosen by NCARB’s regional leadership.

Committee members are:

•   Frank M. Guillot, FAIA, Committee Chair (Vermont) NCARB President, 2005
•   Arnold J. Aho, AIA (Vermont)
•  Joseph L. Bynum, AIA (Alabama)
•  T. Rexford Cecil, AIA (Kentucky)
•   H. Carleton Godsey, FAIA (Kentucky) NCARB President, 2006
•   Barbara A. Sestak, AIA, Jury Chair (Oregon)
•   Michiel M. Bourdrez, AIA, staff liaison
•   Demetrius Norman, staff support

The academy is represented by six deans/directors/chairs, each of whom is based in an NCARB Region. They are:

•  George Thrush, FAIA, dean, School of Architecture, Northeastern University
•  Clark Llewellyn, AIA, director, School of Architecture, Montana State University
•   Jeff Shannon, AIA, dean, School of Architecture, University of Arkansas
•  Frances Bronet, dean, School of Architecture and Allied Arts, University of Oregon
•  Joseph Bilello, FAIA, dean, College of Architecture and Planning, Ball State University
•  Garth Rockcastle, FAIA, dean, School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, University of Maryland

The NCARB Prize for Creative Integration of Practice and Education in the Academy was first initiated in the fall 2001 semester.