Two projects by UNC Charlotte School of Architecture graduate students are among the 10 winners of the 2020 AIA COTE Top Ten for Students Competition, presented by the American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment (AIA COTE) in partnership with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA). The international competition recognizes ten exceptional studio projects that demonstrate a thoroughly integrated approach to architecture, natural systems, and technology to provide architectural solutions that protect and enhance the environment.
The two winning projects from UNC Charlotte are Bio Tower: A Green Medical Research Hub, by Sophia Bullock, Drake Cecil, and Alex King, and [Up]–LIFT Technology Tower by Bekim Sejdiu and Devin Waddell. All five students have just graduated with Master of Architecture degrees. Architecture faculty Kyoung-Hee Kim and Liz McCormick mentored both projects.
Bio Tower: A Green Medical Research Hub responds to the loss of tree canopy that Charlotte will experience as it continues to grow. The tenants for the Bio Tower include medical clinics, pharmaceutical production companies, and sales offices. With its expansive green corridor, the Bio Tower offsets the removal of vegetation while simultaneously providing North Carolina native medicinal plants for medical research that will take place within the high-rise building.
[Up]–LIFT Technology Tower seeks to address Charlotte’s economic mobility crisis in a sustainable urban community tower that incorporates access to training in fields related to technology and start-up spaces for tech businesses. The integration of educational programs, academic research, and new industry practices provides a path for students to move into employment and also allows the building to become a “public laboratory” for developing new eco-technology products and solutions to environmental concerns.
The competition had more than 600 participants from nearly 50 universities. Winning projects were chosen by a panel of five judges representing architectural academic programs and professional practice. In addition to UNC Charlotte, the other winning teams came from the University of California Berkeley, Clemson University, Iowa State University, Montana State University, California College of the Arts, and Université Laval in Quebec, Canada.