May 27, 2021

Pella Prize Awarded to Brittney Wilson, Ghazal Feizi, and Rachel Schmitmeyer

The inaugural Pella Prize was awarded to the team of Brittney Wilson, Ghazal Feizi, Rachel Schmitmeyer for their project, “Kinships, Clusters and Communities.”

Pella Prize Awarded to Brittney Wilson, Ghazal Feizi, and Rachel Schmitmeyer

The inaugural Pella Prize was awarded to the team of Brittney Wilson, Ghazal Feizi, Rachel Schmitmeyer for their project, “Kinships, Clusters, and Communities.” The prize will be awarded each year to recognize outstanding work in G2 Comprehensive Studio in the Master of Architecture program.  Prize recipients must demonstrate the ability to produce a complete architectural project from schematic design through the detailed development of programmatic spaces, building assemblies, structural and environmental systems, and sustainability and life-safety provisions.

This year's G2 studio took on the project of the multifunctional room (as opposed to the building with a stable program) in relationship to the triple threat of the pandemic, social justice movements, and the climate crisis. Each team's final project was for a "society of rooms," where the themes elaborated for the private rooms were developed for a public project with a strong civic character.

Kinships, Clusters, and Communities

“Kinships, Clusters and Communities” is a center for people who are displaced nationally and globally because of the climate crisis. It is located on the corner of High Street and 10th Avenue in Columbus, Ohio. 

For people facing displacement, interaction and inclusivity are often missing from their daily lives. The Center for Displaced People will accommodate various levels of kinships. Our ambition is to use collective spaces and porosity to facilitate and encourage interaction between the residents. By expanding our understanding of kinships to primary, secondary and odd, we explore the dynamics of nonfamilial networks which become the main form of the center. 

At a time when many people will feel isolated, the collective form of the center encourages community by relying on ontologies of network. The design of the center is against the individual and reliant on relationships. 

“As an international student with the first-hand experience of adapting to a new country, one of the interesting elements for me was to prevent the feeling of isolation that forcibly displaced people would experience. We wanted these people to be seen not as solely refugees, but politically and socially active people while respecting their autonomy and individuality. As a response to this issue, public spaces in the center allow for community-based activities and help them promote engagement with not only other displaced people but the community they are living in.”

– Ghazal Feizi

“We were interested in expanding our understanding of kinship beyond familial relationships. We looked to the work of Donna Haraway and her use of “Odd Kin”, defined as a group of human or nonhuman actors who develop kinships through shared knowledge, experiences, or interests. The use of familiar kinship types, such as primary kin and secondary kin, along with, Odd Kin allowed us to develop complex connections between displaced persons. These connections resulted in an elaborate formal arrangement of kinships, clusters, and communities.” 

–  Brittney Wilson

"We were inspired by homes in Central America where many people are being displaced due to the climate crisis. There, porches serve as the main gathering space for families and friends. By providing every unit with a porch located within the central atrium, residents are able to visit with each other as they circulate through the building. The porches join the units in loose, overlapping clusters, encouraging community among the residents."

– Rachel Schmitmeyer


The Pella Prize is made possible through the generosity of the Gunton Corporation, the largest independent distributor of Pella Window and Door products in the United States. In conjunction with the Pella Prize, Knowlton students are given the opportunity for in-depth study of window and door assemblies and their manufacture at Pella showroom and manufacturing facilities in central Ohio.