April 9, 2018 Interior Architecture Student Earns First Place in National Design Scholarship, Internship

Niklos Toldi with pinup

Niklos Toldi, a third-year student in the School of Interior Architecture, was recently awarded first place in the 2018 Gensler Brinkmann Scholarship in recognition of his academic excellence, design ability and creative expression.

Toldi, a resident of Memphis, Tenn., receives a substantial scholarship and an invitation to intern with Gensler, an award-winning, global architecture, design and planning firm.  He will intern at Gensler’s San Francisco location this summer.

“Winning the Gensler Brinkmann Scholarship is such an honor and a blessing and reaffirms that design is my passion and exactly what I want to be doing,” Toldi said.  “To be recognized by a firm as large as Gensler is not only humbling, but it also makes the long hours in studio and hard work worth it. Financially speaking, this award will allow me to continue my passion for holistic design by receiving a master in architecture degree.”

Toldi’s winning design was for a 30,000-square-foot, four-floor office building designed for a film company, Annapurna Pictures.

“In studio, we studied bioluminescent organisms and were tasked with taking their form and light into consideration.  I saw how the form and fluidity of jellyfish can control natural light, so for the structure, I created a façade of panels that adjust to the position of the sun to break the boundary of exterior and interior spaces.  The organic structure of the organism contrasts with the rigidity of the architecture.

“I chose interior architecture because I want to work with human environments and understand how we relate to spaces around us and how with technology, they relate to us,” Toldi said.

Watch the video about Niklos Toldi.

This is the fourth year in a row a student in the UT School of Interior Architecture has won a Gensler Brinkmann Scholarship.  In 2017, Mary Morgan Smith, now a fourth-year student, placed second, as did Taylor Odom in 2016.  Erin Collins placed first in the scholarship in 2015.

For more information about the UT School of Interior Architecture, visit   For more information about the College of Architecture and Design, visit

Established in 1999 as a memorial to Donald G. Brinkmann, a gifted interior designer, inspirational leader and former partner at Gensler, the Gensler Brinkmann Scholarship Fund celebrates Brinkmann’s career-long commitment to nurturing new design talent by presenting outstanding interior design students with scholarship and internship opportunities.

Read Gensler’s news release.