AISC/ACSA Steel Design Student Competition
Administered by ACSA and sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), the 20th annual Steel Design Student Competition challenged undergraduate and graduate students to explore a variety of design issues related to the use of steel in design and construction.
This year’s competition offered architecture students the opportunity to compete in two separate categories. Category I asked applicants to design an Urban Food Hub by exploring ways to incorporate food production and distribution into an urban setting. Category II was Open and offered students the opportunity to select a site and building program using steel as the primary material.
Eighteen projects and honorable mentions were selected by this year’s design jury for their outstanding innovation in steel design.
Rui Li (B.Arch ’21) and Fei Hu (B.Arch ’21) won first place in the Open category for their project, “W” for Will, which demonstrated outstanding innovation in steel design.
As part of the fourth-year undergraduate integrated design studio (ARC 409) focused on the waste-to-energy facility, Li and Hu worked under the direction of their faculty sponsor, School of Architecture Assistant Teaching Professor Fei Wang, to design a waste-to-energy power plant and media tech center in the future city of Xiong’an New Area in China’s Hebei province.
The project’s long span steel structure and stacking form take advantage of gravity and horizontal stretch to greatly reduce the by-products generated by the burning process and turn the building into layers of different industrial happenings. Reflecting the team’s waste-to-will-power philosophy, these collective layers are connected to a media center, performance studios and a walkable rooftop overlooking the scenic sector of the city.
“‘W’ for Will is an intriguing design with beautifully detailed steel structure creating a faceted exterior,” noted the jurors. “The students’ solution filling the entire city block is an elegant response to the gritty city site.”
Winning students and their faculty advisors will each receive a cash prize along with the opportunity to have their projects exhibited at the 2021 ACSA Annual Meeting and the 2021 AIA National Convention, as well as published in a competition summary publication.
“HERE+NOW: A House for the 21st Century” 2020 Student Design Competition
Led by the ACSA, in collaboration with Custom Residential Architects Network (AIA CRAN), the “HERE+NOW: A House for the 21st Century” 2020 Student Design Competition provided architecture students with a platform to explore residential architecture and residential architectural practice.
This year’s competition, which drew over 800 participants and received nearly 300 submissions, challenged students to envision a house for the here and now: informed by context, culture and vernacular, but fully embracing 21st-century technology and ideas of domesticity.
A panel of distinguished jurors, including School of Architecture Assistant Professor Sekou Cooke, chose first, second and third place winners, along with two honorable mentions.
Emily Hu (B.Arch ’22) won third place for her project, ShareBnB: Re-imagining the Gift Economy and Suburbia, which focuses on the phenomenon of the gift economy, an alternative economic system within online housing exchange platforms that relies on non-quantifiable social exchanges rather than monetary means to facilitate staying in a host’s home.
Based on a project she completed in her third-year undergraduate research-design studio (ARC 307), Hu worked with her faculty sponsor, School of Architecture Assistant Professor Jiong Abingo Wu, to design and develop a new suburban housing typology that responds to guest-host power imbalances inherently created within this niche economic system.
ShareBnB addresses guest indebtedness by opening up the home to supporting spaces, such as the kitchen and living room, where guest repay debts through social interactions already occurring but not openly seen or normalized in the suburbs, including potlucks and collective cooking, swap shops, community gardens, bike shares and child care.
Through speculation, the design proposes that this new typology will normalize other gift economy activities in suburbia and, through aggregation and proliferation, radically change the systems and norms of suburbia while simultaneously addressing the criticisms of free homestays.
“Learning that I won was a small but wonderful moment to share with my family in an unpredictable year,” says Hu, noting that she worked on her competition submission while her father was hospitalized battling COVID-19. “Looking back, it really means a great deal winning third prize and I cannot thank Professor Wu enough for all of her guidance and support.”
Competition prize winners and their faculty sponsors will each receive a cash award along with the opportunity to have their projects exhibited at the 2021 ACSA Annual Meeting and the 2021 AIA National Convention, as well as published in a competition summary publication.