AIA Fort Worth Student Design Awards
Three student projects were recognized for design excellence during AIA Fort Worth’s awards banquet held in late January. The chapter's Student Design Award program was established in 1991 and is open to projects completed as part of academic coursework.
The lone Honor Award was presented to Ace Academy by John Paul Rysavy and Daniel Shumaker, both students at the University of Texas at Austin. In addition, two Merit Awards were presented, one to Down Town Urban Architecture by Yan Lu of Texas A&M University and another to Estuarial Habitation by John Paul Rysavy of the University of Texas at Austin.
The chapter’s Student Design Award was established in 1991, with eligibility open to students enrolled in NAAB accredited architecture programs in Texas. Entries are limited to projects completed as part of academic coursework. Each year, jurors present two levels of award, either Honor or Merit. Scholarships are available for Honor winners. This year’s scholarship was made possible by Jacobs Engineering.
This year’s jurors were Norman Ward, AIA, of Norman D. Ward Architect in Fort Worth, Ron Wommack, FAIA of Ron Wommack Architect in Dallas, and Todd Wascher, AIA, of Lake/Flato Architects in San Antonio.
Ace Academy by John Paul Rysavy and Daniel Shumaker
Ace Academy is a concept for a learning environment designed to provide a place where gifted learners can become citizens of the world. The jury found the project to be “a thoughtful presentation clearly showing a holistic approach through weaving building and landscape design into the existing topography. This sensitive integration, and the resultant forms create diverse conditions for learning opportunities."
The design embraces the organization’s mission by drawing on resources of the city, neighborhood, and site. The site is located between the quaint Judges’ Hill neighborhood and exuberant downtown Austin. In response to this dichotomy, the building is divided into two levels: the higher plane of Judges’ Hill and the auxiliary spaces below. Articulation of this division is carried into the project’s details. The cafeteria, library, commons, and administration are linked to form the building’s spine. Branches of classrooms along exterior corridors weave through clusters of live oaks and define two courtyards. Below each branch, auxiliary spaces – visual, performing, and athletic arts – mediate between street and school. The integration of educational spaces and natural surroundings educates students through engagement with the world around them.
Down Town Urban Architecture by Yan Lu
The edges of the campus of Texas A&M University present extraordinary opportunities for redevelopment. Down Town Urban Architecture proposes a scenario that sprang from design studio investigations that focused on a section of University Drive between Northgate and South College. As a class, students collectively designed a master plan, with each student then proposing a project on a chosen site within the master plan. Down Town Urban Architecture emphasizes sustainable urban principles, such as reducing vehicular trips, encouraging pedestrian access, increasing density, and respecting the public realm. The project also responds to required program goals of energy efficiency, environmental stewardship, and adaptive re-use.
Commenting on this entry, the jury stated: “The project does a good job understanding how to break down the scale of an entire city block and at the same time provides urban density. By carefully inserting open areas within the framework of a mixed use composition, the approach yields a nice redevelopment of a city block.”
Estuarial Habitation by John Paul Rysavy
Matagorda Bay exists amid boundless change. Following decades of efforts to manipulate water flow and bolster the coastland, the Gulf of Mexico confronts precarious conditions as a consequence of global climate change. Challenged by a rising coastline, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Lower Colorado River Authority have agreed to support the construction of portable living quarters for scientific research and disaster relief in the Matagorda Bay Nature Preserve.
Through a network of structures that correspond to the various ecological systems present, Estuarial Habitation uses each facility to monitor the dynamic interaction of transforming systems in relation to the ramifications of human intervention and the impact of global climate change on this sensitive landscape. The jury described the project as “a masterful network of bridge-like structures extending outwards into the Matagorda Bay Nature Preserve, the light touch and fragile quality seemed to feel right for this site. An ephemeral image that seems to have a deep resonance, the project blends well within its site context.”