Sam Fox School students win National Organization of Minority Architects competition

A team from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis took first place in the National Organization of Minority Architects’ (NOMA) annual Student Design Competition.

Presented as part of NOMA’s 45th annual International Conference & Exposition, the competition took place Oct. 11-14 in Houston. Twenty student teams faced the challenge of designing an eighth- through 12th-grade academy for architectural design and sustainability in Sunnyside, Houston’s first historically independent African-American community and home to the first licensed African-American architect in Texas, John Chase.

The Sam Fox School team, which won the $1,500 cash prize, utilized the African Togun, or “Shotgun House,” typology to lay out the buildings and program in ways that respond to the existing neighborhood context. Their proposal included: a learning garden; residences for parents and children affiliated with the school; and community spaces along a series of linear porches. Construction materials would be native to the community so families might learn to construct and repair their own homes — a recognition of Sunnyside’s original development.

Adjunct lecturer Charles Brown served as faculty adviser. The core team consisted of the following architecture graduate students: Ralph Harper; Ngoc Nguyen; Baoyue “Bruce” Wang; Tianhe Zhang; Jingsi Zhang; and Siyang Liu.

Additional volunteers and co-presenters at the conference included: graduate student Cierra Higgins; and undergraduates Allie Henner, Ellie “Erin” McLaughlin and Taili Zhuang.

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