CAPLA Studio Honored With Studio Prize, Sloan Award
An undergraduate architecture studio in the UA College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture was honored as one of the best examples of architectural investigation taking place in colleges and universities today.

By Stacy Pigott, University Communications
April 3, 2019

kate_2.jpg

"Kate mapped where the rising sea water was projected, and then she took all that land and floated it out. Obviously at first she didn't think she would end up with this floating community, but she was doing different mapping exercises of the area, just g
"Kate mapped where the rising sea water was projected, and then she took all that land and floated it out. Obviously at first she didn't think she would end up with this floating community, but she was doing different mapping exercises of the area, just getting to know San Francisco. Finding old maps of where the water was under the surface of the city was part of her process," associate professor Susannah Dickinson said.


Three students in a University of Arizona undergraduate studio snared one of six prestigious Studio Prizes, awarded to the most innovative academic studios in North America by Architecture Magazine. Their projects were further honored with the Sloan Award, which recognizes sustainable water conservation and management.

Luyi Huang, Morgan Oster and Kate Stuteville's capstone projects were submitted for the Studio Prize by architect and UA associate professor Susannah Dickinson, who accepted the award on March 27 at a ceremony at the UA College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture.

During the year-long capstone project, which consisted of a fall semester seminar followed by a spring semester studio, Huang, Oster and Stuteville were tasked with designing a large-scale project near Pier 70, a 69-acre industrial span just east of San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood.

"We always say that Tucson's desert climate is good for students to learn principles of sustainability, but we don't want people to be limited to this climate, either," Susannah Dickinson said. "We want students to realize that those things are portable, and if they understand the concepts, they can work anywhere in the world."

The fall semester seminar included site visits, readings and analysis by the students, who then developed their individual projects during the spring semester studio.

"The expectation is that they will do a mid-scale building, as a minimum," Dickinson said. "Quite a few embraced a larger scale than a single building or were doing master-plan-scale strategies, which was nice. A lot of architects now, in the last couple of decades, are taking on those kinds of infrastructural projects in different scales."

Huang's project, "Soft Infrastructure," envisions a softer edge to the city and explores extending infrastructure that can adjust to rising water levels in the bay. The adaptable boundary would include monitoring and filtration systems to clean the water, and it would incorporate spaces for research and community programming to educate residents about both the marine habitat and the effects of climate change, turning a challenge for the city into an opportunity for engagement.

"Urban Aquatic Conservatory," designed by Oster, blurs the boundary between water and land, while reversing damage to estuaries that have been harmed by overdevelopment and pollution. Vegetation on the coastline takes the place of infill development and acts as both a sponge to absorb rising sea levels and a filter to mitigate contaminants. The addition of a wildlife research center and an urban fish hatchery seeks to educate residents about the surrounding habitats and the effects of climate change, as well as to help restore the populations of species that are now endangered.

Stuteville's project, "Floating Metropolis," proposes a community for the year 2100 that takes advantage of an as-yet unexplored site: the surface of the rising sea itself. Stuteville anticipates developments in what will be half-submerged relics of industrial infrastructure that currently sit at the edge of San Francisco’s land mass, with structures that rely on osmotic power harvesting energy from the difference in pressure where salt and fresh water meet. Nets will harvest fresh water from the city’s pervasive fog and provide infrastructure to hold the floating community together.

"All of these three were looking at the scale of the whole bay, which is pretty inspiring when you see young people embracing it," Dickinson said.

Each of the projects has a “poetic aspect to it,” juror Yolande Daniels said, which, she noted, is tied to a “consciousness of ecology” as a core aspect of both the design challenge and each resultant solution.

In addition to the prestige of winning a Studio Prize and Sloan Award, the students – now UA alumni – all received a portion of $25,000 in prize money from Sloan.

Extra info

Share

Resources for the media

Researcher contact:

Susannah Dickinson

UA College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture

520-621-6751

srd@email.arizona.edu

Media contact:

Cindy Rupp-Valdez

UA College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture

Office: 520-626-9935 | Cell: 530-321-5619

cynthiavaldez@email.arizona.edu