NewSchool of Architecture and Design teams win International Design Competition

Undergraduate and graduate student teams earn multiple titles, including first place overall


NewSchool of Architecture and Design teams win International Design Competition

A NewSchool of Architecture and Design (NSAD) team won the MCM Group Mock Firms International Skyscraper Award, the highest honor in the international 2012 Mock Firms Competition collegiate division held in Chicago May 3–4. The undergraduate team, which also won the titles of Top Sustainable Mock Firm and Top Architecture Mock Firm, was among six finalist teams in the competition’s college division, formally called the International Skyscraper division. The finalists also included a second NSAD team composed of graduate students.

The winning team members, who named their mock firm Capsule Architecture Lab, are all undergraduate students in NSAD’s Bachelor of Architecture program: Monika Banakaite, Wilfred Briones, Brandon Nash, Lam Thanh Nguyen and Carlos Sandoval. The group’s NSAD faculty mentor was Raul Diaz, an associate with Roesling Nakamura Terada Architects. As the overall winner of the competition, the student team receives a $1,000 prize sponsored by the MCM Group International, an award-winning studio of planners and architects that has developed more than 2,000 projects around the world. Their primary practice areas include sustainable design, leisure and tourism and cultural and heritage projects.

The other NSAD finalist team, SALT (Sustainable: Architecture: Landscape: Technology), was made up of graduate students in the Master of Architecture program: Ann Capinguian, Kevin Colbert, Daniel Kwak and Rodrigo Villalon. The group’s NSAD faculty mentor was Daniela Deutsch of the architecture firm exitecture.

The fourth annual Mock Firms Competition was held by Chicago Architecture Today, an LLC online publication reporting on architecture in Chicago and beyond. The competition, which includes a separate category for secondary school students, provides students with practice in creating and participating in a simulated architectural design firm in preparation for the work environment. Other finalist teams at the collegiate level were from Cornell University, Drexel University, Higher Technical School of Architecture (Spain), and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. NSAD was the only school in this year’s competition with more than one team represented in the finals.

“We are proud of our two student teams that demonstrated as finalists the quality and professionalism that we encourage in all our students,” said NSAD President Steve Altman. “At NSAD we have made global experience part of our mission. This competition, with its focus on a hypothetical project in China, was an opportunity for our students to show how they can successfully apply their technical and creative backgrounds at an international level.”

For the competition, the collegiate teams developed a “mock” design/build firm and prepared a project proposal for a skyscraper based on the competition’s theme of “versatility,” which was defined as varied building uses and adaptability. The site of the conceptual project was Beijing, China. During the final competition, teams pitched their design concepts directly to some of the industry’s leading design/build professionals to receive immediate feedback and critique. The collegiate teams competed in the categories of marketing, construction, organization, engineering, architecture and sustainability, in addition to the top overall mock firm.