Spire Design Competition Tradition Continues

4th Year Architecture students recently completed the 58th Spire Energy Annual Student Design Competition, sponsored by Spire Energy (formerly Alagasco).

For this year’s competition the 4th Year Studio faculty team (Mark Blumberg, Zhan Chen, David Hinson and Jennifer Pindyck) asked the students to design a K-5 STEAM school on an urban infill site located in the heart of Chattanooga’s downtown. This year’s competition brief challenged students to design a facility of approximately 50,000 square feet, resulting in design proposals of 4-5 stories. The competition provided students a challenging site and program, as well as the opportunity to study the role of school facilities in urban revitalization.

To prepare the students for this challenge, students visited Chattanooga early in the semester to learn more about the downtown district and to study the project site. Eric Myers, Director of urban design advocacy group Chattanooga Design Studio, and APLA alumni from Tinker Ma, a Chattanooga-based architecture practice, met with the students during their visit to Chattanooga, and presented information about the history of Chattanooga’s city center from a social and infrastructure perspective.  Later in the semester, the students were briefed on contemporary school design practice by Joseph Jamgochian of Atlanta-based Perkins+Will.

The design jury included several members of the Chattanooga design community, including Eric Myers – Chattanooga Design Center; Jim Williamson – River City Company; Craig Peavy and Thomas Palmer – Tinker Ma. Barbara Crum – Perkins+ Will Architects, Atlanta, GA; Brantley Highfill – Gensler, Houston, TX, and Brad Burns – Gensler, Charlotte, SC, rounded out the varied group.  The jurors reviewed all 59 proposals in the morning, selecting a group of 16 finalists who gave oral presentations over the course of the afternoon, followed by final award deliberations by the jurors.

Speaking for the jury, Barbra Crum praised to the entire group of students “for the quality of their solutions and the professionalism of their presentations.” The jury awarded First Place to Madeline Ray, followed by Tate Lauderdale with Second Place, and a Third Place award for Anthony Spafford. Dylan Braziel and Kaleigh Smith received Honorable Mentions.  At the conclusion of the day, Griffin McNeill of Spire Energy presented a monetary prize of $5,000 which will be divided among the top three finalists.