Cornell chapter of National Organization of Minority Architecture Students wins student design competition

November 3, 2007

The Cornell chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS) won a student design competition, "Embracing Commitment. Community. Change: Designing the New Urban School (K-12) in Parramore (Orlando, FL)." Winners were announced at the Annual National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) Conference held October 25-27 at Contemporary Resort Hotel, Disneyworld, Orlando, FL. Of the students who contributed, 12 attended the conference, and 3 were selected by their peers to present Cornell's entry: Max Davis, Gary He, and Oscar Hernandez-Gomez. Associate Professor Arthur Ovaska was faculty adviser to the students. About the Competition NOMA aims to work with local, state, and national governments on issues affecting the physical development of neighborhoods and communities. Orlando is one of many United States cities facing a large change in demographics, with an increasing mix of Caucasian, African American, Latino, and Asian cultures. Architects and designers are being challenged to respond to the issues that face diversifying populations in ways that promote community -- as they encourage growth in new directions and strive to improve quality of life. The 2007 Student Design Competition invited architecture students to carefully consider issues of urban renewal in historically African American communities. The design focuses specifically on Parramore, an urban enclave located in downtown Orlando on the cusp of transition. The City has developed a strategy through "Pathways for Parramore" to improve the depressed aspects of this neighborhood, education being one key area. Students were asked to submit a design proposal for the New Urban School (K-12) that would provide residents access to a local education base and opportunities for after school programs, sporting activities, and community events. Designs needed to address the community's history and present innovative ideas for the New Urban School experience. Students were asked to examine the following issues in their design proposals:

  • How can the school take an active role in promoting positive change in Parramore while still including its African American community members?
  • How can the design proposal help the school to reach beyond itself and become involved in the concerns of the community, society, and educational realm?
  • How much does the design need to reflect Florida's architectural vernacular in order to integrate?
  • How will the design deal with tectonics? Students were asked to demonstrate their understanding of appropriate technology.
  • How will local climate affect the design? Students were encouraged to consider issues of sustainability and green design.

2007 Participants

The 2007 winners of the Parramore School Design Competition and the award amounts are as follows:

  • 1st Place: Cornell University, $1,500
  • 2nd Place: Florida University, $1,000
  • 3rd Place: Kansas State University, $750
  • 4th Place: Howard University, $250 and Georgia Institute of Technology, $250
  • Additional Participants were
  • Mississippi State University
  • California College of the Arts
  • Virginia Tech

Within the next two weeks, the winning Cornell students plan to have a presentation of their project at the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning.

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