Word this week that Hospitality Design’s student awards this year were–again–a clean sweep. Iowa State’s interdisciplinary Paris studio, which proposed a mid-range convention and tourist hotel on the site of an aging sports center in the Grenelle neighborhood took both finalist spots. Lee Cagley, ISU’s Interior Design Chair, and I have taught a studio that puts interior designers, architects, and landscape architects onto teams and gives them an impossible program on an intimidating site–after two years in Panama City, Panama, we moved the site to Paris and took advantage of ISU’s study abroad policies to spend a week there in January, 2019. Student teams were, obviously, inspired by the day-long “death by Corb” walking tour and, perhaps, by other stuff in Paris–the work from that studio was stellar, as reflected by the second sweep of the HD awards by ISU teams.
This studio is, hands-down, as much fun as you can have teaching. Students slowly get used to the subtly different sets of values that each discipline brings to their team, and once things start rolling the complementary knowledge that they’ve acquired over their three or four years in design school can meld in interesting ways. Lee and I think the studio is successful when we see landscape architects arguing about carpet patterns, or interior designers figuring out a curtain wall detail, or architects drawing (gasp) trees.
Lee and I thought that any one of a handful of teams could have easily taken one of the top prizes, but the two that did win, shown here, did a remarkable job of weaving together a structurally diverse set of program elements into efficient but wildly expressive forms that contained rich, evocative spaces. They both embodied the studio’s premise, which is that the collision of interests and values that occurs when young designers come to a project with as much curiosity as energy usually results in projects that are solid in many, many dimensions. Glad to see the jury thought so, too.
Oh, and if you think these are good, wait until last spring’s Honolulu studio sweeps next year’s awards, because holy smokes.