Published March 5, 2014
School of Architecture and Planning architecture faculty members Nicholas Bruscia and Christopher Romano are in the running for two Architizer A+ Awards for their Project 2XmT, a free-standing wall of super-thin steel folded into geometric patterns.
Members of the public can help them win the Popular Choice Award in the two categories for which they are finalists, Architecture+Materials and Architecture+Fabrication. Public voting is open through March 21.
Project 2XmT, a completely self-supporting vertical installation, tests the structural limits of thin-gauge metals while showcasing the visual qualities of patterned and textured metal. The wall was erected last summer near the entrance to Silo City, a cluster of grain elevators along the Buffalo River.
The project is also a candidate for Architizer A+ Jury Awards in both categories, to be decided by a global jury of architects, thought leaders and developers. The high-profile global architectural award program recognizes built and unbuilt projects in more than 60 categories with over 200 judges. Last year the program drew over 1,500 entries from more than 100 countries. Among these was Elevator B, a home for a colony of bees designed and built by School of Architecture and Planning students, also in Silo City. That project took home the jury Architizer A+ Award in the Student Design/Build Project category.
This is the third international recognition for Project 2XmT. Last fall, Bruscia, MArch, MFA, a clinical assistant professor of architecture, and Romano, MArch, a research assistant professor of architecture, earned first place in the TEX-FAB SKIN competition. The project also won The Architect's Newspaper 2014 "Best Fabrication" award.
Romano’s and Bruscia’s research is the result of a partnership between the Department of Architecture and Rigidized Metals, which fabricated the textured metal, assisted in the wall's construction and has sponsored related design studios and directed research at the school as a way to explore new uses for its materials. The Department of Architecture, meanwhile, has benefited from the company’s ability to bend and fold metal in ways that the school cannot do on its own.
Students have been engaged in the research since its start in spring 2012. Master of Architecture student Daniel Vrana and Philip Gusmano, a 2013 graduate of the undergraduate architecture program, have spent the past several months taking the project from concept to production.
The partnership is one result of Department of Architecture Chair Omar Khan’s efforts to cooperate with local manufacturers — outreach that has led to new courses and research on materials from metals to terra cotta.