Buell Center Announces 2018 Paris Prize Winners

The Buell Center Paris Prize, now in its second year, recognizes the work of Columbia GSAPP students whose studio projects most successfully address the terms and spirit of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
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ESAMo: Constructing New Grounds for Agricultural and Social Transformation in Tunisia by Mayrah Udvardi
Advanced Studio
Ziad Jamaleddine, Critic
Media Advisory
8 February 2019

Columbia GSAPP is pleased to announce the winning projects for the 2018 Buell Center Paris Prize. This annual prize, which was awarded for the first time in 2017, invites students to propose architectural responses to challenges associated with the changing climate. Three prizes of $3,000 were awarded to students from the Master of Architecture and the Advanced Architectural Design programs whose fall semester design studio projects most successfully complied with, interpreted, and/or critically extended the terms and spirit of the 2015 Paris Agreement, a global treaty adopted within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Special consideration was given to work that combined the social, technical, political, and symbolic implications of the climate accord in an architecturally specific fashion, at multiple scales. A jury composed of Buell Center Advisory Board Members selected one winning project and runners-up from each of the first-, second-, and third-year fall semester studios.

The Buell Center Paris Prize jury recognizes the following students for their compelling studio projects:

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Self-Sustainable Micro-Community by Ge Guo and Qi Yang
Core Architecture Studio III
Ilias Papageorgiou, Critic
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A Green Commodity by Nelson De Jesus Ubri
Core Architecture Studio I
Anna Puigjaner, Critic

2018 Paris Prize Winners

ESAMo: Constructing New Grounds for Agricultural and Social Transformation in Tunisia by Mayrah Udvardi
Advanced Studio
Ziad Jamaleddine, Critic

“The Ecole Superieur d’Agriculture de Mograne (ESAMo), was built in 1952 to train Tunisians in industrial agricultural methods and cement France’s hold on the country’s agro-economy. While a building itself cannot be held responsible for international slow violence, it can reveal the intentions and unintended consequences of top-down planning. My design challenges the French framing of the pastoral and rigid delineation of the groundline, offering a phased approach to diversify agricultural production and reintegrate students with the landscape. At the center of this new program are four seed libraries, built from stone of the hollowed campus ground floor. This process of deconstruction and rebuilding will, itself, become part of the curriculum, as students, teachers, builders, and farmworkers integrate their knowledge. Over time, this collective work will become pixelated throughout the campus; the formerly static groundline will become temporally dynamic, punctuated by retaining walls, bunds, and terraces for cultivation and water collection. This process can be applied to other nodes of environmental degradation in Tunisia, redistributing agency and material resources to those who have been most impacted by imperialist development and climate change.”

Self-Sustainable Micro-Community by Ge Guo and Qi Yang
Core Architecture Studio III
Ilias Papageorgiou, Critic

“We think that sustainability lies in the lifestyle people live. We propose the self-sustainable attitude towards living: A lot of things you consume in the architecture comes from the architectural system itself: light, wind, water, and food. We transform the traditional large-scale public space into a series of domestic scale courtyards which nourish diverse activities and encourage the residents to maintain their own courtyards. People enter each unit through the roof landscape, which advocates the culture of walking and leads to a healthier and energy-saving lifestyle. The boundary of units is not fixed. All the living space is flowing in between the fixed elements: light wells, service cores, circulation cores, and shear walls. The design approach opens myriad possibilities of space usage and each unit is unique. In this way, the built structure could achieve its best efficiency.”

A Green Commodity by Nelson De Jesus Ubri
Core Architecture Studio I
Anna Puigjaner, Critic

“This project proposes green streets that carve into the existing architecture of the Upper West Side. The objective is to imagine how streetscapes could blend with buildings around them while reducing carbon emissions and energy consumption. Three aspects of the shared and collective in New York City were analyzed. Community gardens were researched to understand how public spaces empower local communities. The tenement typology was then analyzed to comprehend how the lack of daylight and air in interior spaces influenced the use of alleyways, bathrooms, and kitchens. And lastly, studying the value of NYC trees determined by the Department of Parks in relation to the services provided by them: stormwater interception, energy conservation, air pollutant removal, and carbon dioxide storage. This research led to three design strategies: carving into buildings to bring in light and air, creating porous edges between green streets and the adjacent architecture, and using the financial support of developers to plant trees and finance this greening effort.”

2018 Paris Prize Finalists

Five Opportunities for Planetary Acupuncture by Kevin Hai
Advanced Studio
Andrés Jaque, Critic

Upstairs - Downstairs, Living Together on Three Planes by Alexandros Prince-Wright and Yoonwon Kang
Core Architecture Studio III
Hilary Sample, Critic

The Great Billboard Walk by Yaxin Jiang
Core Architecture Studio I
Benjamin Cadena, Critic

About the Buell Center
Columbia University’s Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture was founded in 1982. Its mission is to advance the interdisciplinary study of American architecture, urbanism, and landscape. A separately endowed entity within the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, it sponsors research projects, workshops, public programs, publications, and awards. The Paris Prize forms a part of the Buell Center’s ongoing research project, Power: Infrastructure in America.
About Columbia GSAPP
Among the world’s leading research universities, Columbia University in the City of New York continuously seeks to advance the frontiers of scholarship and foster a campus community deeply engaged in the complex issues of our time. Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (Columbia GSAPP) offers a range of programs in architecture, historic preservation, planning, real estate development, and urban design that bring together imagination, experimentation, and critical thinking towards new forms of practice. GSAPP is committed to shaping a more equitable, sustainable, and creative world by engaging architecture and the built environment from diverse and global perspectives. The school functions as an urban condenser of ideas and drives innovation and change through the leadership of its faculty, the excellence of its academic programs, the expansion of interdisciplinary opportunities as well as the richness of its research initiatives and events.
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