Architecture Dept. honors best of best at Celebration of Excellence

Ward Wells

“The Celebration of Excellence,” an annual Texas A&M Department of Architecture event spotlighting outstanding student and faculty achievements, will include a juried evaluation of the year’s top five graduate final study projects, culminating with the presentation of a “Best of the Best Award” for the winning work.

The celebration is slated for 2 p.m. Thursday, May 12 in the Oakwood Ballroom of the College Station Hilton on 801 University Drive East in College Station.

“This celebration will identify and recognize excellence in the classroom and myriad other special achievements by our students and faculty,” said Ward Wells, head of the department.

During the competition portion of the Celebration of Excellence, the five Best of the Best semifinalists, selected prior to the event by a faculty jury, will present their final projects to a jury composed of luminaries from the architectural world.

The semifinalists and their projects are: 

  • Austin Ash, "A Part of: Apart From," a physical rehabilitation center in Rome;
  • Kendall Clarke, "An Architect's Medium," an arts center in Boston;
  • Ashton Holliday, "Relentlessness," an Under Armor innovation and testing facility in Baltimore;
  • Lisa Milks, "Safe Haven," a Montessori school in Austin, and 
  • Jacob Richie, "Mending House," a refuge for trafficked women and their families in Magnolia, Texas.

The panel of design experts evaluating the presentations includes Gavin Daniels, principal and co-founder, Wingate Hughes ArchitectsDonna Kacmar ‘88, associate professor of architecture, University of Houston and a member of the American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows; Lorena Toffer ‘04, technical design leader, Hoefer Wysocki ArchitectureBryan Trubey ’83, executive vice president, HKS Inc., and Guillermo Vasquez de Velasco, vice provost and professor of architecture, Ball State University.

Kacmar and Trubey are outstanding alumni of the College of Architecture.

Also during the celebration, the department will present awards recognizing superlative student and faculty accomplishments including:

  • Undergraduate portfolio awards recognizing undergraduate students whose portfolio for admission to upper-level studies exhibited high-quality design and research;
  • Graduate and undergraduate teaching awards;
  • The American Institute of Architects’ Henry Adams Medal and Certificate, awarded to the student who consistently delivered the most remarkable work throughout his or her graduate program studies;
  • The Alpha Rho Chi Medal, awarded to a graduate student for leadership, accomplishment, service and promise of professional merit; and
  • The Architectural Research Centers Consortium’s King Medal, recognizing innovation, integrity and scholarship in research.

The inaugural Celebration of Excellence is a project of the Department of Architecture’s Council of Excellence, an elite group of department friends and former students who are committed to supporting and enhancing architecture program excellence, building relationships with students, and bridging gaps between the academic and professional worlds.

posted May 3, 2016