In fall 2020, Guerguis led a collaborative design studio and research, entitled Super Resilient. The research was developed in response to demands of school buildings in regions susceptible to natural disasters and sought to provide resilient, affordable and environmentally sustainable solutions. Each year, schools damaged by natural disasters across the world leave hundreds of thousands of students with no access to education, and coupled with poverty, many schools are forced to close.
Guerguis’s work incorporated key partnerships, including with UT students in the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students East Tennessee Chapter, as well as the Hlauleka school in Chokwe, Mozambique. The school was founded in 2008 by South Africa native Sybil Baloyi to provide permanent shelter and education to children orphaned by war, famine or natural disasters. In 2019, the school was hit by cyclone Ida, causing flood damage.
Guerguis partnered with Baloyi to research and design resilient solutions. In the advanced graduate Architecture studio, Guerguis’s students collaborated with Baloyi and an international team and applied feedback from local Chokwe residents to develop a flood-resistant master plan for the Mozambique school. Download a PDF depicting the studio’s work and results.
“This project can be considered as the first step toward a novel, fully integrated approach to construction driven by the material economy of flood-resistant school buildings in regions susceptible to natural disasters,” Guerguis said. “I am truly grateful for this recognition given by ACSA. Working with talented and motivated students who wanted to make a difference and fill a real need was one of the most rewarding experiences. We plan to continue our contribution, and I hope that this will be the beginning of many collaborations in the future to offer ways to work with communities where their needs are prioritized while helping in designing and building sustainable projects,” he said.
ACSA’s Architectural Education Awards “honor architectural educators for exemplary work in areas such as building design, community collaborations, scholarship, and service. The award-winning professors inspire and challenge students, contribute to the profession’s knowledge base, and extend their work beyond the borders of academia into practice and the public sector,” according to the ACSA website.