April 24, 2018 Architecture Students Win International Design Competition

Students at Golden Gate Bridge

Two student teams from our School of Architecture were named winners of an international design competition for a science education facility near San Francisco.

The competition, hosted by Architecture at Zero, challenged designers to create a zero-net energy bayside community education and visitor’s center, in support of the mission of the Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies.  This facility is San Francisco State University’s center for estuary and ocean science located on 53 acres of bayside property in Tiburon, Calif.

The competition was open to students, architects, landscape architects, urban planners, engineers and designers from anywhere in the world.  Winners were announced in professional, college and other categories.

Sydney Flannery and Briyana Rainer, 4th-year Architecture students, received the Honor award, the highest award given to college students in the competition, for their project “Transparencies.”

Kyle Johannes, Samantha Sowell and Carl Weaver received the Merit Award, second place, for their project “Terra Delta.” This is the first time a university placed two teams in the competition’s seven-year history.

The students completed their projects in Kevin Stevens’ Fall 2017 4th-year integration studio. Prior to designing their work, students visited the site with Stevens in September.

Both Flannery and Rainer explained how helpful it was to immerse themselves in their project while visiting San Francisco and the Bay Area. “Looking at the design through CAD or Rhino [design software] really limits your interpretation of the site,” said Flannery. “When there, we were able to fully grasp how drastic the topography is and readjust our project accordingly.”

Sowell stated how her team loved working with the competition prompt in the studio. “It sets up the semester with an exciting end goal on the horizon,” said Sowell. “Without a doubt, the element of travel heightened not only our design, but it also [gave us] a general understanding of Tiburon’s site context.”

Following their final reviews last fall, the students worked diligently during winter break to reformat and submit their projects.

“It’s great to have the opportunity to work with students who are this dedicated to the profession,” Stevens said. “Being able to see them produce projects that compete on an international stage is incredibly rewarding.”

All of the students explained that they owe much of this accomplishment to the dedication of Stevens. “[Professor Stevens] is an amazing professor. He is very patient and encouraging,” said Flannery.

Rainer concurred, “Over the course of the semester, we learned and designed a solution that we were proud of.”

The competition was sponsored by Pacific Gas and Electric, San Francisco State University and the AIA California Council.