October 11, 2019 Students Place in 2019 ACSA International Housing Design Competition

rendering of Haitian housing project

We serve communities near and far with our exceptional designs. As a land-grant institution, UT is committed to advancing the greater good, and we give back in extraordinary ways. We’re proud of our volunteer spirit as we use our design knowledge to change the world.

Three of our students were awarded third place in the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture 2019 HERE + NOW International Student Design Competition for their designs of a new type of housing in Haiti.

Through the competition, architecture students explore residential architecture on an international scale.

The theme for the competition was “A House for the 21st Century,” requiring designs that were informed by context, culture and vernacular and that embraced modern technology, energy efficient practices and resiliency.

Recent Interior Architecture graduate Nicole Hamel and Architecture 4th-year students Allie Ward and Grayson Word won with their housing design, “Haitian Housing: Social and Cultural Evolution Through Transitional Space.”

rendering of Haitian housing project

“Learning that our work was recognized and awarded for its understanding of domesticity within context, culture and vernacular in this competition was beyond exciting for our team,” Ward said.

“Haitian Housing” proposes a new type of housing in Fond-des-Blancs, Haiti, that blends interior privacy and exterior social interactions in the rural areas of Haiti. Hamel, Ward and Word chose to highlight the space’s adaptability for future uses, such as family growth, generational movement within the household, large scale social interaction and societal changes.

Comments from the competition jury include, “This winning project, Haitian Housing: Social and Cultural Evolution Through Transition Space, highlights social engagement through simple, vernacular building strategies. The project boards are exceptionally well composed with diverse visual representation techniques. This sophisticated design respects its context and local housing forms, while promoting communal collaboration through spatial complexity.”

The project was conducted in Assoc.Professor and Assoc. Dean for Academic Affairs and Research Katherine Ambroziak’s interdisciplinary Haiti studio. Students in the studio worked with Pastor Jean Thomas and the Haiti Christian Development Fund (HCDF) to create designs that engage with Haitian culture through comprehension of the local vernacular and the community’s desire for social mentorship.

Model of Haitian housing project

“Students were challenged to explore new paradigms for social living,” Ambroziak said. “To do this, they needed to better understand the cultural identity of rural Haiti, appreciate the resiliency of its people and contextualize their aspirations. The studio as a whole posed insightful questions that really helped us think about the implications of densified community development in the rural landscape and how contemporary infrastructures and construction practices can resonate with cultural and social traditions.”

In addition to receiving a cash prize, the students’ designs will be exhibited at the ACSA 108th Annual Meeting in San Diego in March 2020.

“We are thankful for the guidance and encouragement from Katherine Ambroziak, HCDF, John McRae and others who offered critique along the way, as well as the opportunity to share our design proposal within an international competition,” Ward said.

ACSA received 140 competition submissions, awarding first through third place and three honorable mentions. The competition is hosted by ACSA and sponsored by the American Institute of Architects and the Custom Residential Architects Network.

The 2020 HERE + NOW Competition is open. Submissions are due May 20, 2020.