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Rensselaer Alumni Magazine Winter 2005-06
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Student Designs Go Global

56West: Utopia

56West: Utopia earned first place in the Global House 2005 International Design Competition.

Two teams of fifth-year architecture students at Rensselaer garnered top honors — first and third place overall — in the Global House 2005 International Design Competition, selected from among more than 250 entries from 44 countries.

Hosted by Arquitectum, an enterprise dedicated to the organization of architectural contests, the Global House competition challenged professional architects and architecture students ages 28 and under to create a house that best represents the values of contemporary global society and that can exist on any site, anywhere in the world.

Stephanie Cramer of Castleton, N.Y., and Ryan Salvas of Old Saybrook, Conn., saw an opportunity to incorporate housing into the bridges, sign trusses, and on and off ramps associated with highways. Their proposal involved using highway sign trusses as a structure for houses that would be suspended over the roadways. The team was awarded first place and a prize of $2,000 for their design, titled 56West: Utopia.

NOMAD, designed by Priyanka Mara of New Hartford, N.Y., Moniera Buck of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Brian Janeczko of Garden City, N.Y., won third place, and a prize of $500. The group proposed a reconfigurable housing unit, designed for nomadic users, made up of telescoping tubes that could be shifted, pushed, and pulled, providing users with a high level of flexibility within a small amount of space.

Utopia Sign
“Once again Rensselaer students have demonstrated their capacity as global thinkers, creating architectural designs that have the potential to enhance living environments, and improve the human condition on a universal scale. I applaud them for their creativity and for this achievement,” said Alan Balfour, dean of architecture.

This is the eighth year Rensselaer students have been selected as finalists in international professional competitions, according to Balfour.

Related Link:
School of Architecture

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