2021 William Riat ’73 Prize

The William Riat ’73 Prize is awarded each year to recognize outstanding work in the Master Project by students in the Master of Architecture program.

Contact Forces

Kris Hager
1st Place (tie)

Contact Forces proposes curated moments of social friction to augment interaction between the government and the public it serves.  A new city hall building in New Orleans functions as a site to test a more transparent model of civic architecture.

Social friction is created through intersection—as overlapping, nesting, and lodging—in three areas of the project. First, the mayoral, councilor, and departmental offices overlap with restaurants and cafes. Second, the council chamber is nested within the public art gallery / exhibition space. Finally, a series of public hearing halls are lodged within the document’s library.

These moments of friction, designed in section, sit in contrast to normative offices that act as the corridor-less medium, throughways by which everything is accessed. This project is represented as a complete world with many crossing narratives.

The project is represented by a single longitudinal section consisting of a series of spatially continuous but temporally ambiguous moments. In the original presentation, these scenes were tracked vertically through the building, shifting between the three primary moments of transprogramming achieved via intersection.

The Ghost in the Machine

Garrett Schultz
1st Place (tie)

This project questions how digital tools—the hardware and various software by which we design and share most architectural representation—influence the production and reception of the representations themselves. It explores how an understanding of these digital biases can lead to new discoveries within representations that seemingly shift based on user and machine perception.

A new drawing type that I have created and provisionally named “the orthographic composition,” investigates these issues. The orthographic composition accurately layers the information from axonometric, isometric, section, and plan views of a project to create a democratized image free from the hierarchy of singular views. This shimmering effect and unstable relationship create an image that changes across software and hardware so that multiple analysis can be performed on the effects that emerge from the representation. Across various software and hardware, the destabilized nature of this image is perceived differently by the user and the machine, effects can appear and disappear depending on the level of intersectional patterns and the software deployed to see such interactions. It is my hope that this constant state of flux blurs the boundary of clearly articulated geometric space into nebulous space.

The ambition of the project is that this process not only makes evident the pre-conceived conception of the hardware, and its software, but that the representations it produces can be mined as a new multi-dimensional means to plan and design buildings. The layered perspectives and gradient hatch clouds of the orthographic composition are freed from a single projection or top to bottom three-dimensional modeling. My research into representation, software, and the latent effects it can produce in representation are all part of an effort to capture new types of public spaces that are softer and less determinant than those typically found in the western canon. The orthographic composition produces a nebulous approach to space planning which allows for more gradient than a figure-void relationship can provide in the traditional architectural discourse.

Multiple Singularities: The Polycentric Plan

Megan Pettner
Honorable Mention

This proposal for a city hall in New Orleans embraces the tension between the city hall as a singular, iconic object versus the city hall being made up of many programs and departments. Today the city hall takes on more responsibilities than voting in the council chamber. These responsibilities should be celebrated equally.

Program stretches between three centers, interacting differently with each one. The use of the center itself as an organizing form both enforces and disturbs the singularity of the building. Typically, a building may have one single central space. By having three separate and distinct centers, the idea of singularity is stretched through the interior. Together, the centers disturb the singularity and iconicity of the building on the interior, while individually they each create one space viewed in totality. The formal language and exterior cladding enforces the tension between many parts and the whole.