Designing the San Francisco House of Music: Gui Competition 2016

Prompt: Design the San Francisco House of Music in Golden Gate Park.

Following the reviews of the twelve finalists selected for the 2016 Gui Competition, the senior Architecture Design Studio gathered for the announcement of the winners. Paul Lewis, co-founder of LTL Architects and visiting juror, stated that achieving consensus among the jurors organized around “questions of coherence, legibility, invention and curiosity.” The projects that placed in the competition clearly articulated these design elements, Lewis stated, and were distinguished for the coherence and clarity of their spatial development. After the announcement of three honorable mentions and the third and second place students, Jake Clare’s project received first place.

Program: Three performance halls, music education classrooms, restaurant, shop, public and support spaces, site area/71,000 Sq. ft.

In response to Clare’s work, Sunil Bald, guest juror and co-founding principal of Studio SUMO, stated that the buildings were “sufficiently distinctive without feeling forced relative to the site, so there is a believability and peculiarity at the same time.” The buildings in Clare’s House of Music were pavilioned so they would establish their own single space, while connected by roof planes that extend to large voided spaces and light cannons. These orb-like spaces allow natural light to enter into the venues’ public areas. Another important design solution was the manipulation of the ground plane, utilizing the south to north slope to terrace the building into the site. Paul Lewis commented that Clare’s project was compelling due to its ephemeral aspects, adding, “this project is a great lesson of a really clean and strong idea, and developing it in terms of materiality and light.”

Adding to the juries’ concluding comments, Galo Canizares, Howard E. LeFevre ’29 Emerging Practitioner Fellow, stressed that the competition allowed the finalists to present a glimpse of their developing architectural identities: “There is a moment in the presentation that you could see a student’s solution to a core interest - whether it’s an image or a rigor of geometry or some kind of problematic relationship.”

Reflecting on his winning the Gui Competition, Jake Clare said, “It definitely makes me feel that I’m in the field I should be in," adding that his preparation, late nights and hard work had been rewarded by the outcome. “It’s nice to be recognized, but it’s also nice to have a completed project, a finished building.”

The announcement of the competition winners was the culmination of research, design development and project presentation for students in the senior design studio during the autumn semester. Work early in the semester focused on site analysis, precedent studies, and cultural context research. Basic studies of the program’s square footages moved into schematic studies involving sketches, diagrams, and quick models; processes that constitute and further the project’s early visualization development. During mid-reviews, proposed building forms and design strategies were presented, indicating the overall mass and general layout of the buildings, supported by rough plans and sections. Following a final review on November 30th, two students were selected from each of the six senior design studio sections to present their work at the competition review on December 2nd.

Finalist include: Jake Clare (First Place), Will Ulmer, (Second Place), Jacob Pfahl (Third Place), Micah Stidham, Rui Lu, Sami Samawi (Honorable Mentions), Cara Berg, Vince DeStefano, Devin Kennedy, Brandon Kroger, Umar Mahmood, and Andrew Spiller.

On May 3, 1996, the James E. Gui ‘54 Design Competition Awards Fund was approved by The Ohio State University Board of Trustees. The Fund was generously established by Jim and Ann Gui through the OSU Foundation and will exist in perpetuity.  This year’s competition marks the 21st annual James E. Gui ‘54 Design Competition. The goal of the competition is to test the skills of students in the senior design studio in designing a project for a complex program on a challenging site. The competition stipulates that the jurors are to consist of three Knowlton School faculty members, a local practitioner, and a nationally recognized architect. Jurors for the 2016 Gui Competition were, respectively, Karen Lewis, associate professor of architecture; Galo Canizares, Howard E. LeFevre ’29 Emerging Practitioner Fellow; Keoni Fleming, lecturer; Paul Lewis, LTL Architects; and Sunil Bald, Studio SUMO. Jane Murphy, associate professor of architecture, served as the coordinator of the senior design studio and organizer of the competition.