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UB architecture faculty projects win national awards

"He, She & It," a new workshop for artists in Buffalo, won a jury award in the Architizer A+ Awards competition's Architecture+Workspace category. Photo: Florian Holzherr

By DAVID J. HILL

Published April 26, 2016

Two projects designed by UB architecture professors have received jury honors in the international Architizer A+ Awards competition that “honors the best of architecture worldwide.”

“He, She & It,” a new workshop for artists in Buffalo designed by the practice Davidson Rafailidis — whose principles are Stephanie Davidson and Georg Rafailidis — received the jury award in the Architecture+Workspace category. Davidson is a clinical assistant professor and Rafailidis an assistant professor of architecture at UB. Their practice is located in Buffalo.

“High Living,” a conceptual project created by the practice Dioinno Architecture whose founder is Jin Young Song, assistant professor of architecture at UB, won jury honors in the Unbuilt Residential category.

“This is an unparalleled honor. With entries from over 100 countries, your work truly represents the best of architecture worldwide,” Architizer CEO Marc Kushner wrote in an email to the winning entrants. “The Architizer A+ Jury Winner is selected by our illustrious jury, comprising equal parts architects+designers, cultural thought leaders and developers.”

Architizer bills itself as the world’s largest online community of architects. The Architizer A+ Awards competition is the largest awards program focused on promoting and celebrating the year’s best architecture and products.

“He, She & It”

Located in Buffalo, “He, She & It” is a collection of three distinct buildings for three spatial needs collaged into one structure. The 1,400-square-foot building includes work space for a painter, a ceramist/silversmith and a greenhouse.

“Having the project celebrated by a jury of accomplished designers and chosen for special recognition from among many compelling designs from across the globe is very meaningful,” Davidson and Rafailidis said.

“We are happy that a project that uses simple, minimal means and modest materials and techniques speaks powerfully enough, through its spaces, to receive this recognition.”

Each of the three spaces in their project differs radically from the other. The painter’s space (for the “He”) is a windowless white box that is exclusively top-lit, allowing for even and natural light while maximizing the wall surface area for painting.

“She” is a ceramist and silversmith whose space features a dedicated area for the messy, wet ceramic work and the delicate jewelry-making. Her space offers large windows with generous views and dramatic lighting.

“It” consists of seedlings in spring and plants in the winter whose space features a translucent polycarbonate shell that offers a zone of outdoor-like space to the other two work spaces, without any direct views.

“He, She & It” also has been nominated for a people’s choice award in the AZ Awards competition by Azure, a Toronto-based magazine. Votes can be cast online.

“High Living”

Rendering of High Living, a multi-unit residential concept created by Dioinno Architecture, whose founding principal, Jin Young Song, is a UB assistant professor of architecture. Photo: Dominik Imseng

Song formed his practice, Dioinno Architecture, with offices in Buffalo and Seoul, to serve as a platform for testing creative projects that support and extend his research and teaching. “This award provides encouragement to pursue creative projects that maintain the synergy between teaching, research and practice,” Song said.

“High Living” is a multi-unit housing concept designed for Dharavi Slum, one of the largest slums in the world, in Mumbai, India, and features a set of prefabricated connecting towers made out of repurposed shipping containers.

It is designed as a “radical but realistic cure” to issues of public health, safety and well-being in Dharavi Slum. “This is the start of a research project focusing on prefabrication in architecture, the role architecture can play in solving social and political problems, and the function of façade on social impact,” Song said.

“Technology for new means of delivering projects and new ways of making things, but I am interested in how the new development of technology can respond to old problems, such as slums, poverty and cities in conflict,” he added.

Architizer A+ entries were judged by an international panel of more than 300 jurors that included artist Allan Wexler, Pinterest co-founder Evan Sharp, Pentagram partner Michael Bierut and actor Alan Cumming, as well as representatives from some of the world’s most well-known architecture and design firms.

Winners will be honored at the A+ Awards Gala on May 12 in New York City.