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Next-Gen Architects Represent at KSU Integrative Studio Competition

Jun 03, 2021

Marx|Okubo was the proud sponsor the recent Integrative Studio competition at Kennesaw State University. Our own architect Arie Bettsack, Senior Associate, joined jurors from an award-winning architecture firm and the City of Atlanta’s Department of City Planning to evaluate finalists from a compelling field of student design projects.

The KSU architecture department’s competition called for applicants interested in crafting a commercially viable affordable-housing solution on a strategically selected site near downtown Atlanta and in close proximity to a MARTA rail station.

Marx|Okubo provided advisors, awards and judging. Our team, including a structural engineer, mechanical engineer and architect, acted as consultants throughout the design process, offering helpful critiques of students’ work.

It was an especially rewarding opportunity for our firm given that we employ numerous KSU alumni in our Atlanta office. “I shared with the students a little of my own experience in the architectural program,” says Dan Yntema, Senior Associate, who presented the grand prize award. “Some 30-plus years ago, I had been sitting in a lecture hall on that very campus receiving a design award. That memory has stuck with me all these years.”

Yntema emphasized how meaningful his KSU years were, how incredibly prepared he was for what has become a very successful career, and how the KSU staff are devoted to making students the best that they can be.

Top student design projects show “remarkable potential”

The Integrative Studio competition’s evaluation criteria centered around the AIA Framework for Design Excellence. Due to COVID-19, the students presented submissions virtually, and a question and response segment with the jury followed each presentation.

“The jurors were overwhelmed by the impressive quality of each project, which made for hours of thorough discussion and deliberation on the merits of each submission,” says juror Bettsack.

A grand prize was awarded as well as several commendation prizes. Pablo Garcia took home the top award for his “Terrace View” project, which received high marks for its achievement of high density, engagement of the surrounding urban context and community through programmatic space allowances at ground level, and a clear, functional connection to the nearby transit station. One particularly creative economy of form was Garcia’s downward staggering the modular units, allowing for daylighting opportunities inside the block and making the inner courtyard a more welcoming space.

Commendation prizes in specific categories went to Nicole Rodriguez for her project featuring a ground-level community market and semi-public, second-level terraces; David Feregrino for his impressive “soft” brutalist design fitted with an integrated rainwater collection system and sculptural theater structure; and Moritz Meditz for his project’s potential for long-term adaptability and design for resiliency.

“The experience allowed me to witness the prodigious talent and remarkable potential of the incoming generation of future architects,” says Bettsack. “I look forward to seeing how these bright young people help shape the built environment of tomorrow.”

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Marx|Okubo is a national architecture/engineering/construction consulting firm that works with real estate owners, investors and lenders—at every point of the property lifecycle—to evaluate their building projects, solve complex challenges and implement tailored solutions. We help clients understand their projects’ complexities, so they can make more informed decisions and, ultimately, mitigate their risk.