Two teams from the School of Architecture have won top awards in the 2017-2018 Steel Design Student Competition hosted by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA). The competition recognizes exceptional projects in two categories, one addressing affordable housing and the other for open submissions, that explore a variety of issues related to the use of steel in design and construction. More than 300 projects were submitted from universities across the United States and abroad; 16 projects were honored.
The UNC Charlotte teams won first and third place in the “Affordable Housing” category. Both teams were inspired by the Leading on Opportunity Task Force recommendations to address Charlotte’s economic mobility crisis.
Students Nathalie Altamirano and Austin Vandepoll, under the direction of professor Marc Manack, won first place for the project Balloonité, an experimental project that uses inflatable steel technology. The modular, brightly-colored structure, which could be made entirely from recycled steel, is designed to be quick to fabricate and sustainable, with a “cool” factor that the team says “could help Charlotte move past the affordable housing stigma.”
Students Arturo Lujan, Pedro Pinera-Rodriguez, and Ryan Smith, under the direction of professors Chris Jarrett and Peter Wong, won third place for the project Pressing Matters of Affordability. Their proposal for a mixed-income housing complex in a former industrial zone reimagines steel as a softer, smoother material created by pressure forming metal via stamping and tooling processes that are common to automotive and other industrial manufacturing.