September 27, 2019 Architecture Graduate Named Regional Winner in International Research Competition

Pete Paueksakon, Paula Mejia and Geng Liu posing with their project "Towards Fibrous Architecture."

The Global Undergraduate Awards—often referred to as the “junior Nobel Prize”—has announced the winners of its 2019 program, and a recent Architecture graduate is one of five UT winners ranked among the world’s best and brightest.

Pete Paueksakon, a May 2019 graduate, was Highly Commended and named a Regional Winner for the United States and Canada in the architecture and design category in this year’s Global Undergraduate Awards.

The Global Undergraduate Awards (UA) is the world’s largest international academic awards program, recognizing excellent research and original work across the sciences, humanities, business, and creative arts. The top 10 percent of students in their respective categories are honored as Highly Commended. Regional Winners, voted best in their category, are then chosen from each of the seven regions in the competition, and a final Global Winner is selected in each category.

This year, the UA received a 3,437 entries representing 338 institutions, and 50 countries. Students from the United States and Canada, submitted 905 of those entries.

Paueksakon, a native of Bangkok, Thailand, earned his distinction with his project, “Towards Fibrous Architecture.” Completed in Architecture Assistant Professor Marshall Prado’s studio, Paueksakon worked with two other Architecture students Paula Mejia and Geng Liu to create the winning design.

rendering of Towards Fibrous Architecture

“Towards Fibrous Architecture” focuses on design research utilizing principles of natural fiber composites in architecture applications. In this case, the research mimics the fibrous nature of bone to create multi-nodal modular components using glass fiber, resin and a novel winding process.

The intention of the project was to create an adaptive fabrication system in order to create highly differentiated components from a simple process and a small kit of parts. The project employed a removable and reconfigurable frame to create two, three and four-node configurations onto which resin-impregnated glass fibers would be wound and cured. The development of the winding process enabled the fabrication of smooth composite surfaces with minimal material.

rendering of Towards Fibrous Architecture

The integrative design and fabrication process required both physical and digital modeling techniques to achieve a more streamlined understanding of the overall geometry. The project resulted in the design and fabrication of a small architectural pavilion. This demonstrator was comprised of 25 uniquely fabricated components assembled into a lightweight fiber composite structure.

As a winner in this year’s awards, Paueksakon is invited to attend the UA Global Summit, which will be held November 11–13 in Dublin, Ireland. UT’s Office of Undergraduate Research will provide funding for Paueksakon, other UT winners and a faculty member to travel to Dublin for the Global Summit.

Students who attend the Global Summit will have the opportunity to meet and share research with fellow students from across the globe and from every academic discipline.

A panel of experts from around the world assesses the entries submitted to the competition, and they diligently narrowed them down to the very best of those submitted. Highly Commended entrants are ranked in the top 10 percent of all submissions to their specific category, Regional Winners are the top for their sector of the world, and the Global Winners placed as the top student in their category internationally.

UT’s 2019 winners include Paueksakon, Juhi Patel, a Global Winner in the classical studies and archaeology category, Tyler Hounshell, a Regional Winner in the Earth and environmental sciences category; Dara Carney-Nedelman, a Highly Commended entry in the psychology category; and William White, a Highly Commended entry in the literature category.

Students interested in learning more about The Global Undergraduate Awards program should contact the UT Office of Undergraduate Research at 974-8560 or ugresearch@utk.edu.

See our past accolades with the Global Undergraduate Awards:

2018: Commended winners James Halliwell and Joseph Platt

2017: Highly Commended winner Rachel Hunt