Syracuse Architecture students from the Orange chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS) took first place in this year’s student design competition held in conjunction with the 47th annual National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) conference and expo in Brooklyn, New York from October 16–20, 2019.
The 2019 Barbara G. Laurie Student Design Competition challenged 39 student chapter teams to address gentrification and housing equity in Flatbush—one of Brooklyn’s rapidly transforming neighborhoods—by proposing a design solution encompassing mixed-income housing, commercial/retail tenants and community spaces. The project also challenged the students to articulate comprehensive strategies that integrate varying housing typologies and foster diplomacy between tenants, homeowners and the community.
Recognizing that Flatbush is a culturally seismic community and a melting-pot of immigrant Caribbean, Afro-American, Afro-Caribbean and Latin cultures and heritages, the Orange NOMAS design team committee saw an opportunity for dialogue to occur.
Their project, In the Street, pushes for the existence of difference into a daily dialogue by integrating the existing community into the fabric of a high rise. “We propose a street of our own, one that mobilizes both the old and the incoming community into a vertical hub of life,” the team’s entry explains.
The team pulled inspiration from things seen from the street. The central column in their design utilizes the red of the local fire escape through the interior staircase. The street, also painted red, is directly connected to the path into the building leading the community into the core.
The vertical existence of the commercial and retail tenants allows for the existing community spaces and the agents of gentrification to talk with one another without the separation of car infrastructure.
Selected community programs come from three main groups: the local, the gentrified and the health focused. Taken directly from the local area, these “refuges of expression,” including a salon, barber shop, art gallery and boutiques act in tandem and attract a wide array of people, resulting in checks and balances for the street life.
“This building shall encourage a new form of interaction between long held barriers through the conversation and comparisons it creates between programs and people,” the team’s entry explains.
The winning team included architecture undergraduates Ifeoluwa D. Areogun ’23, Karen Chow ’22, Kristabel Wing Lam Chung ’22, Poulami Das ’22, Demitri Costa Gadzios ’20, Benson Joseph ’20, Ying Na Li ’22, Luis Martin Lopez ’22, Parinda Sangkaeo ’21, and Rachel Ly ’22 and graduate students Darrelle Butler, Jr. ’21, Yan Chen ’21, Hayyatu Deen Ikharo ’21, Kaitlyn Schwalber ’21 and Kojo Quainoo ’21.
“This is such a wonderfully talented group of designers and aspiring architects. All the proposals in the competition were excellent, but our team’s entry was truly outstanding. We are all so proud of their achievement and look forward to more great things from them in the future,” says Syracuse Architecture Dean Michael Speaks.
This year’s conference, titled Believe the Hype: A Global Collective of Industry Change Agents, attracted over 1,200 minority architects, students, urban designers, community activists and building industry professionals from across the country—an organizational all-time high. Locations throughout Brooklyn, Harlem, and lower Manhattan hosted lectures, seminars and architectural tours.
The Orange chapter of NOMAS is designed to foster communication and comradery among the diverse body of students at the School of Architecture at Syracuse University. NOMAS provides minority students in the School of Architecture with support in academics, professional matters and services. Social activities, workshops, community services and professional development are all part of the chapter’s agenda. The annual NOMA conference gives students an opportunity to meet and network with professional architects of color and visit exciting cities around the nation.