We greatly appreciate the efforts put into all of the submissions and hope that you will continue to advocate on behalf of design as a crucial aspect in addressing environmental issues. Thank you again for helping to make this competition a resounding success.
Professional Honor Award $2500
THOMAS KOSBAU, Professional Honor Award winner, founded Brooklyn, NY-based ORE Design + Technology in 2009 to “identify creative potentials from the natural world and associated tech-industries and synthesize them into design solutions. The firm’s focus is divided between client-commissioned architectural work and self-initiated research in alternative energy and water production technology.” Their entry in the Drylands Competition, LA20: Large Scale Desalination with Repurposed Civic Infrastructure, put forth “an idea for a zero-energy desalination system that harnesses ocean wave energy to pump cold seawater inland into a network of evaporation chambers using simple trombe wall construction. The cold seawater not only supplies the chambers with water to evaporate, but also acts as the freshwater condenser as the evaporated vapor comes into contact with the chilled pipes through which the seawater flows. The system is scalable and adaptable to many coastal locations and their competition entry focused specifically on the LA River. This proposal provided an opportunity to transform an existing design that flushes the majority of a desert city’s natural supply of freshwater to the ocean into a desalination machine.” ORE’s work will be featured in an upcoming issue of BOOM: a California Journal, a peer reviewed quarterly publication of the University of California Press.
GEETI SILWAL, AIACP, LEED AP, Professional Merit Award winner, is a dynamic urban designer and architect with more than 13 years of planning, urban design and architectural experience. She serves as a Project Manager and Studio Head of the Perkins + Will San Francisco Urban Design team where she develops visions for better communities with a strong focus on sustainable planning practices. Her competition entry, The Resource Infinity Loop, was an “exploration to redefine ‘wastewater’ as an infinite resource of water for food production and as an energy source. It envisions the Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant as a catalyst that will help transform a neglected industrial neighborhood of San Francisco. The design proposes a sustainable natural alternative to an existing, energy intensive, infrastructure system while providing a productive landscape of urban farms, aquaculture ponds, wetlands and civic spaces in the south-eastern neighborhoods of San Francisco.” Geeti comments that her win “corroborates a new thinking pattern that questions every bit of waste.” Her work will be noted in an upcoming issue of SF Magazine.
REBECCA LEDERER is pursuing her Masters in Landscape Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. Her project, A New-Man’s Land, focuses on the Colorado River as a US-Mexico shared resource present in pipes, canals, agricultural fields and reservoirs. She wants both countries “to re-engage with their water system as it once was, as it exists now, and as it might exist in the future. These spaces could encourage new forms of cultural and resource sharing for people on both sides of the US-Mexico border.” Rebecca finds her Student Honor Prize “an honor to be recognized by respected leaders in the design fields.”
VINH “CHAU” NGUYHEN is pursuing his second Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture at Cal State Polytechic Pomona, with an eye on the Master’s in Urban Planning program at UCLA for the future. For his project, Fresno 2.0: Local Urban Farming Systems Plan, he focuses on Fresno for “its potential to become a thriving metropolis for agriculture” to best showcase his retro-fitting strategies to “use urban advancements to enhance a current farming community and strengthen a desert region into a more luscious, green avenue and revenue for the city.” Chau reports that the recognition of the Student Merit Award intensifies how his “plans for sustainability are much more than just an idea I wanted to show; they are beliefs that I hope will ignite deep passions of sustainability in others as they are in me.”
In addition to the William Turnbull Prizes, the Arid Lands Institute at Woodbury University awarded research grants of $10,000 each to 5 projects. Research awards are used to advance each proposal technically, and to develop public policy tools, between January and March 2012. Award-winners will be paired with policy mentors and technical advisors from multiple disciplines. In March, award-winners presented their design research and the policy implications they suggest at ALI’s International Drylands Design Conference (March 22-24, 2012).
MEGHAN STORM, a Professional Research Grant winner and a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, is currently seeking her Masters in Landscape Architecture. She also has a Masters in Architecture from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Her project Off the Reservation: A Seed for Change focuses on the “unique cultural connections of Native Americans to water practices, food and land. By looking at indigenous cultural practices, design professionals can help revitalize cultures and inform sustainability practices. The project proposes to use landscape as a tool for cultural adaptation and revitalization.”
Meghan was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and notes that going to school on the East Coast has made her appreciate the West even more. She is passionate in her belief that architecture and infrastructure on culturally sensitive tribal land should respond to and be integrated with existing landscape conditions while being responsive and adaptable to site and cultural conditions. At the Drylands Conference she will participate in the first panel of the day, titled the “Hydrologic Commonwealth.” She will expand on her proposal to use water/landscape problems as opportunities to revive culture and reconnect with the land through food, water and mobility. She recognizes that cultural practices evolved out of the response to land conditions, that housing and infrastructure were adapted to these conditions and that landscape can embody cultural practices.
BROOKE MADILL and DR. GINI LEE were awarded a Professional Research Grant for their joint project, Re-Investing the Line: Small Infrastructures, Micro-Communities, and Communication Ecologies for the American West. Gini is a landscape architect and interior designer, and the Elisabeth Murdoch Chair of Landscape Architecture at the University of Melbourne in Australia. Brooke is her design collaborator, and is undertaking her own PhD, “investigating the links between tourism, infrastructure, critical landscape design practice and arid landscapes, with the aim of generating strategic plans for tourism management on remote trails and tracks of the Australian interior.” Coupled with Gini’s background in research into the water landscapes of remote territories and how it contributes to the understanding and management of fragile landscapes, the research team sought to “make visible the primacy of water and its use in supporting small settlements within a national system of itineraries of travelers.”
ROBERT LAMB, AIA, AICP, LEED AP is a Professional Research Grant winner and a young architect and urban designer working with the Cuningham Group in Los Angeles. He serves as a Project Architect with their Big Name Entertainment studio focusing on large, mixed-use projects in China and the US. His project, Silver Lake Reservoir, transforms the LA reservoir into a wildlife habitat, scenic landscape and a new kind of 21st century water infrastructure. He recognizes that “as open air reservoirs are taken out of the traditional water distribution system, there are unique opportunities to reimagine new possibilities for this infrastructure that will benefit people, wildlife and the hydrology of the region.” He will be participating in Session 2: Design of Adaptation at the Drylands Conference on March 23.
Robert has been a passionate advocate for sustainability since his days in school and in 2007 was honored for “firm-wide collaboration and sustainability” for his efforts to green the practice of design at RTKL Associates, Inc. The experience of working on his competition entry “allowed him to start thinking like he was back in school” and he is excited about presenting at the conference.
LAUREL McSHERRY, FAAR, ASLA, is an Associate Professor and Director of the Graduate Landscape Architecture Program at the School of Architecture + Design at Virginia Tech. She has been on the faculty at Ohio State University and Arizona State University, and studied at Rutgers, Harvard, and the American Academy in Rome, where she received the 1999 Rome Prize in Landscape Architecture. Her project Drylands Design: A Commonwealth Approach was awarded a Professional Research Grant. Laurel is also a published author, designer, and photographer; her latest work includes a book of illustrated essays elaborating the landscapes of the Raritan River in her home state of New Jersey.
YE HUA, another Professional Research Grant winner, is a Chinese graduate student at USC pursuing a triple major that will result in a Masters of Landscape Architecture with certificates in Architecture and Urbanism and Historic Preservation. Her Owens Lake project, A Colorful Walk: Salt Pool Exploration, explores the concept of using minimal water resources to develop a salt crust for dust control of existing salt beds which in turn saves energy and creates beautiful and educational public space. Her research process on the competition showed her that “we should consider more when we alter the water distribution system in nature for human needs.” She will be presenting this work in Session 4: Water Systems and Public Architectures at the Drylands Conference.