Knowlton Students Place First in 2017 AIA Ohio Student Design Competition

"A very intriguing project, beautifully presented and thought out. Solution ensures consistent scale and access across existing neighborhoods while punctuating and adding density at water's edge park. Artfully composed massing and fenestration."

- Competition Jury


Knowlton School architecture students Erin Pesa, Philip Sour and Sadi Webb placed first in the 2017 AIA Ohio Student Design Competition for their collaborative project, Block Parti. The competition requests high quality, innovative design responses that have been completed by students during the academic year. The winning entry was the culmination of work from the 2016 autumn semester graduate architecture Comprehensive Studio.

Students in the Comprehensive Studio were asked to design a 250 housing unit with commercial amenities and a pedestrian infrastructure and that responds to the urban conditions in the emerging Franklinton Arts District in Columbus, Ohio. In responding to the industrial-commercial area and the quaint water front of the Scioto River, the Block Parti scheme populated the site with 4-story, 4-unit blocks. Because height was unlimited in the portion surrounded by the riverside park, the plan created a vertical equivalent to the rest of the site by stacking the 4-story blocks into a tower.

Responding to this solution, the competition jury commented, “The project is consistently good across scales ranging from planning multiple city blocks down to individual unit designs. The aggregation of similar units into different configurations including a residential tower creates a coherent, effective project.”

On the value of visiting the site during early design stages, Pesa stated, “Actually seeing the site and scale of the surrounding context was what drove us to want to maintain a similar scale in our project. The studio itself also did extensive research for the first four weeks of class on the site, city, target user demographics, etc., which we used to help shape our scheme.” The studio also hosted local professionals who offered insights regarding wall section details, appropriate mechanical systems, ADA guidelines and code restrictions for the site. “Comprehensive Studio is a unique challenge because of all the practical design considerations we have to take into account,” reflected Pesa. “Our project was not only about design, but potential real-world feasibility.”

“When I heard that we won it was such a pleasant surprise that not only we had developed a confirmed "good" design but had also done so as a three-person team,” commented Philip Sour following the announcement. “We feel honored, given the quality of the other submissions from across Ohio, and we're grateful to have our hard work recognized by AIA,” added Pesa.

The design team of Nathan Lephart, Christina Tefend and Clark Sabula was recognized with a Merit Award by the competition for their entry, Sliver to Deliver, a project from the same Knowlton School Comprehensive Studio. The award winning projects will be digitally displayed during the AIA Ohio Valley Region Convention in Indianapolis, Sept. 27-29, at the Crowne Plaza Downtown Union Station.