BUD Prize 2015

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From left: Olivia Ashbrook, Sam Green, Lauren Silvers

Future architects learn design and responsibility

What does it take to stimulate an appetite for discovery in an urban environment, establish a space to both create and appreciate art, and build a connection among a park, a school, a church and a residential neighborhood?

It takes an architect with an understanding of urban design. And that is the underlying lesson for the second-year students in the Architectural Studies program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Students in Architectural Design Studio I, taught by faculty members John Eck and Ted Seligson in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design, spent much of the semester working on an assignment to design a community art center for the Hyde Park/Manheim Park neighborhood.

A specific site was chosen – the northwest corner of Troost Avenue and Mannheim Road – and students were required to consider the immediate neighborhood’s context: a mix of residential space, parkland, and major buildings such as St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and DeLaSalle Education Center.

“Although the program asks you to provide a pleasing and functional space for a number of art-related activities, your responsibility does not stop there,” the assignment’s creative brief reads. “Your art center has the potential to physically bring the community together—through art shows, classes and other events. When you design the art center, your client is not only the art center—it is also, and perhaps even more importantly, the community.”

The building was required to include an outdoor entry court, entry vestibule, gallery, six artist studios, a wood/metal shop, print shop, outdoor work space and an apartment and studio for a visiting artist.

In addition to learning their future profession, the students also competed for the annual Bud Prize, a $1,000 scholarship established in 2004 with Helix / Architecture + Design to honor Edwin S. “Bud” Persons, who was a Senior Interior Architect with Helix.

First Prize in the competition went to Olivia Ashbrook. Her design called for a steel structure with white metal paneling on inside spaces for a pure, sleek appearance; a central gallery uses glass paneling to allow natural light.

In an accompanying essay, Ashbrook wrote “The gallery became the central focus of this design, or the hierarchy space … located in the center of the building, with the rest of the spaces wrapped around it.”

The gallery can be glimpsed, but not seen fully from the street, she added, so it “becomes something to be discovered, drawing people in off the street.” The design called for a structure built to a residential scale but “the aesthetic is meant to declare a commercial presence.” Exterior louvers are covered by art to shade the studios and act as signage for the center.

Lauren Silvers earned second prize for her design, a square structure with a central courtyard that serves as the heart of the art center, illuminated by a screened skylight, with secondary spaces grouped around it.

Sam Green earned Honorable Mention. Other participating students in the studio included George Aguilar, Elana Carter, Landon Cook, Jadenn Kelley, JD Meyers, Alex Overbay, Dennis Tong, Sam Valenzuela and Charlie Vue.

Jurors for the competition were Joy Swallow, Architect and AUP+D Department Chair; Shannon Jaax, Planner/ Director of the Repurposing Initiative for Kansas City Public Schools; Alissa Wehmueller, Director of Interiors at Helix / Architecture + Design; Jennifer Tuttle, Artist and Artist’s Mentor; and Christopher Fein, Architect and Professor of Architecture at Kansas State University.

(Story via John Martellaro, UMKC Communications)