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Kent State, Case Western Reserve and Cleveland State Students Recognized at International Urban Design Competition

Posted Mar. 17, 2014
enter photo description
Two teams of graduate students representing Kent State
University, along with students from Case Western Reserve
University and Cleveland State University, received honors
for their design proposals from the Urban Land Institute.
Team Second Nature’s design included a view over the
French Lick Tributary showing the relocation of the existing
Nashville market as an integrated waterfront amenity.

Two teams of graduate students representing Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC), along with students from Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management and Cleveland State University’s Maxine Goodman College of Urban Affairs received honorable mentions for their urban design proposals in Nashville, Tenn. 

Each year, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) hosts a design and finance competition inviting graduate students from across the United States and Canada to compete for a $50,000 prize. The ULI Gerald D. Hines Urban Design Competition asks students to develop a hypothetical urban design scheme and feasible financial proposal in a city. 

On Feb. 20, four finalists and 11 honorable mentions were announced from a pool of 163 entries representing 72 schools. This is the second consecutive year that these Cleveland-area schools have taken home an honorable mention designation in this highly competitive process. 

“We are incredibly pleased to receive this honor for a second year in a row,” says Jeff Kruth, competition coordinator and urban designer with Kent State’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative. 
Urban design and architecture students from Kent State’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, as well as MBA, finance and urban planning students from Case Western Reserve and Cleveland State combined forces and talents to form teams of five students. Local real estate professionals and designers acted as advisors throughout the two-week competition, offering suggestions for sustainable architectural solutions and developing a realistic financing plan over a hypothetical 10-year period. 

“The students learn an incredible amount from local professionals and enjoy the collaboration amongst disciplines that they might not otherwise see in a typical academic setting,” Kruth says. 

Matt Dureiko
, a Kent State architecture and urban design graduate student and a member of Team ECHO System, says it was a nice change of pace to have the professionals as consultants as opposed to advisors.

“We, as a team, determined what the driving concept was going to be and the way it should be accomplished,” Dureiko says. “The professionals then took our ideas and gave us their opinion on how well they thought the concept would work within the guidelines of the competition.”

This year’s site in Nashville asked students to address issues related to large-scale flooding along the Cumberland River, economic resilience, healthy communities and a form-based code, which dictates specific development regulations of the building forms. 

Neil Reindel, a Kent State architecture and environmental design graduate student and a member of Team Second Nature, says his team’s design included a canal system for potential overflow and a socio-ecologic feature for people to engage.

“The ecological features and architectural designs seek to increase the overall health of the community by providing easier, healthier alternatives, such as making nature a prominent and easily accessible feature to the development,” Reindel says.

Team ECHO System consisted of Kent State students Dureiko, Jeff Jasinksi and Brian Pagnotta, as well as Case Western Reserve student John Ostroske and Cleveland State student Michael Mears, and was led by Kruth. The students’ scheme introduced a series of “spillways” and green spaces as neighborhood amenities between urban blocks, while enhancing the Cumberland River waterfront through a variety of green spaces and a large-scale farmers’ market. 

enter photo description
Team ECHO System’s design included a street view near
the Cumberland River showing people interacting with the
landscape and each other along the pedestrian corridor
that links the site and baseball field with a hotel, market
and river.

Team Second Nature, consisting of Kent State students Reindel and Claire Markwardt, and Case Western Reserve students Dan Whalen, Abraham Weiner and Tom Brown, was led by David Jurca, associate director of Kent State’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative. The team proposed the daylighting of an underground stream, flood control measures and development along the Cumberland River’s edge.

This year, five teams formed at Kent State’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative where they worked for the competition’s duration in January. Kent State’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative is the combined home of the urban design graduate program at Kent State and the public service activities of Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design. 

For more information about Kent State’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, visit