Published April 7, 2014
Two projects by School of Architecture and Planning faculty members have landed prizes through the Architizer A+ Awards program, a competitive annual contest that draws entries from around the world.
Project 2XmT, a sculptural wall designed by architecture professors Nicholas Bruscia and Christopher Romano, and erected by their team in Buffalo’s Silo City, won three awards, thanks in part to votes from the Western New York community.
The structure, crafted from more than 150 pieces of super-thin steel folded into geometric patterns, took home the Popular Choice Award and Jury Award in the Architizer A+ competition’s Architecture + Fabrication category, as well as the Jury Award in Architecture + Materials. Online voting determined Popular Choice winners, while judges including architects and cultural leaders selected Jury Award recipients.
The Silo City wall is uniquely Buffalo: Standing against a backdrop of grain elevators near the Buffalo River, it showcases materials manufactured by local company Rigidized Metals.
“We were competing against an excellent crop of projects spread throughout the world, and this popular choice award would not have been possible without the tremendous support of the Buffalo community,” said Romano, research assistant professor of architecture, who led design and construction with Bruscia, clinical assistant professor of architecture. Master of architecture students Daniel Vrana and Philip Gusmano spent several months taking the wall from concept to production.
In addition to the Project 2XmT team, Jin Young Song, assistant professor of architecture, won the Architizer A+ Jury Award in the Products + Living category.
His project was Qube, a dining set that folds up into a compact cube. Song designed the product through his architectural practice, Dioinno Architecture PLLC, and says, “It is a little item that exemplifies the holistic change in the way we experience our living space.”
The name, Qube, captures the “cuteness” of contemporary life and describes the product's cube-shaped structure. Song says his creation offers a stark contrast to "overdesigned decorative furniture or oversized geometric modern pieces" which fail to consider the "compactness of current living style.”
The awards mark a continuation of the School of Architecture and Planning's success in the Architizer A+ program.
Last year, Elevator B, a steel tower that a group of architecture and planning students built in Silo City to house a colony of bees, won the Architizer A+ Jury Award in the Student Design/Build Project category. The 2013 competition drew more than 1,500 entries from more than 100 countries.
“These international awards recognize the high quality of faculty design work produced in the department, and the innovative ways that we are employing fabrication technologies,” says Omar Khan, associate professor and chair of architecture at the School of Architecture and Planning.
Both Elevator B and Project 2XmT resulted from the Department of Architecture’s efforts to work with industry to explore new uses for architectural materials. Rigidized Metals, which has sponsored related design studios and research at UB, was a partner in both winning projects.