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The Buell Center Paris Prize, now in its third year, recognizes the work of Columbia GSAPP students whose fall studio projects most successfully address the terms and spirit of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
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Toxic Entanglements by Christopher Spyrakos, Frederico Gualberto Castello Branco, and Frank Mandell
Advanced V Architecture Studio
Andrés Jaque, Critic
Media Advisory
6 February 2020

Columbia GSAPP is pleased to announce the winning projects for the 2019 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:

Core iii no text
Slow Water by Alice Fang and Angela Sun
Core Architecture Studio III
Daisy Ames, Critic
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Birdway on Broadway by Aya Abdallah
Core Architecture Studio I
Lindy Roy, Critic

2019 Paris Prize Winners

Toxic Entanglements by Christopher Spyrakos, Frederico Gualberto Castello Branco, and Frank Mandell
Advanced V Architecture Studio
Andrés Jaque, Critic

“Toxic Entanglements utilizes architecture as a vehicle for the articulation of existing alternative waste treatment processes tying space, funding, and actors of various scales in order to enable its implementation. Matter and resource are exchanged, produced, consumed, and expelled. What is toxic for certain species nurtures the next, through a continuous circular system. An assemblage of 10 processes that function in unison regulating and providing for each other. An infrastructure that arranges ecosystems through biological and mechanical processes that circulates matter in various states of transformation. We analyze existing environments that are tied to waste management today to envision a possible New York. 50 Hudson Yards was chosen for the implementation of this first prototype due both to location at the interstice of unsustainable waste infrastructure, toxic sites, and problematic relations to animals, and as an effort to reground the East Yards, in an equitable sustainable future for New York.”

Slow Water by Alice Fang and Angela Sun
Core Architecture Studio III
Daisy Ames, Critic

“Due to the lack of access to regular maintenance and inability for water infrastructure to adapt to increased population growth and change in climate, Slow Water puts forth a new model for collecting, cleaning, and delivering water to residents in the South Bronx. Borrowing from cultures celebrating water as a holistic performance with the body, such as Japan with onsens/sentos, water became the main vessel for enhancing health. This proposal for future living provides housing for single mothers sharing lifestyles and goals of raising their children within a supportive community, pushing for parent-child and parent-community interpersonal relationships guided by a spectrum of individual and shared water experiences. Our project hopes to bridge something beyond an economic model of housing sustainability, striving for human driven empathetic spaces.The programs are interspersed among the living units, weaving in and out between spaces as a way to connect public and private, wet and dry, shared and individual.”

Birdway on Broadway by Aya Abdallah
Core Architecture Studio I
Lindy Roy, Critic

Birdway on Broadway is an ornithological research station that is built on one of New York’s oldest roads. The project’s aim is to create a supportive environment for breeding, feeding, and sheltering of birds. It’s intended to work in tandem with a classmate’s rat habitat project, which together, enhances a “predator-prey” system. The designed system will attract and grow bird populations that have become endangered through human construction and resource extraction, specifically Red Tailed Hawks - predators that feed off rodents, reptiles, and squirrels. In addition, the associated system will rebalance the rat population without the use of harmful chemicals. By creating new habitats for them along Broadway, their relationship can serve as a self-sustaining pest control system to the city. Birdway on Broadway could be presented as an offset alternative, but instead of offsetting carbon, the designed system will offset biodiversity footprints. This explains the flyer format of some of the drawings, to be distributed to locals around Broadway to donate and offset their biodiversity footprint by using relatable and scalable comparisons. In this case, $30 could offset a flight from New York to San Francisco, which is the equivalent of 0.3 MSA.ha (Means Species Abundance).”

2019 Paris Prize Finalists

Greenlining East Harlem by Kachun Alex Wong and Lucy Navarro
Advanced Architecture Studio V
Mabel Wilson and Jordan Carver, Critics

High Time for Low Tech by Julia Pyszkowski
Advanced Architecture Studio V
David Benjamin, Critic

ID_ID Houses by Vera Savory and Marcell Sandor
Core Architecture Studio III
Galia Solomonoff, Critic

Quilted by Adeline Chum
Core Architecture Studio I
Alessandro Orisini, 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.