Architecture Student Lauren Brown’s Team Finalist in Urban Design Competition

Lauren Leigh BrownAn entry by KU archtecture student Lauren Leigh Brown’s team of area university students is among the finalists in the Urban Land Institute’s Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition.

Late last fall  Brown, who is from Hermitage, Mo., formed a team with three landscape architecture students from KSU and an MBA student from UMKC to take on the ULI challenge.  She is a fifth-year student in the Masters of Architecture program.

The group competed against 149 teams from 70 universities. Other teams in the final four are from Harvard University, Yale University, and a joint team from Purdue and Ball State universities.

The contest required teams of five graduate students representing at least three areas of study to show how land in the Minneapolis Down East neighborhood could be redeveloped into an active urban neighborhood and regional destination.

They had two weeks to develop drawings, site plans, and market-feasibility studies. This team’s solution transformed an unused armory into an urban market, and concentrated pedestrian-oriented housing, restaurants, and shops along a major street, Portland Avenue.

Brown is a student in assistant professor of architecture Genevieve Baudoin’s competition design studio. It prepares students to participate in competitions, which are not uncommon in architectural practice. She nominated Brown for the team.

“In class Lauren made valuable contributions and gave supportive and constructive feedback to her colleagues. That’s what it takes to be a good team member,” said Baudion. “She made lots of progress developing her own design ideas. Working in an interdisciplinary setting is an invaluable experience for any student.”

Brown says that her education at KU enabled her to contribute to the competition entry on several levels. “As the architect of team, I contributed building massing and typologies, sustainable building and urban infill strategies, façade design, and digital modeling,” she said.

“More than anything the competition has helped me to learn to consider the city at large and intermediate scales. Brown said. “I’ve come to understand what one of my professors calls  ‘the city as a stage.’

“But, as long as I am involved in something of beauty and criticality that is challenging in its architectural nature, I would consider that valuable to my career,” she concluded.

In April the four teams will travel to Minneapolis to make a final presentation. The winning team will take home a $50,000 prize. Each runner-up team will receive $10,000.

The team’s competition entry can be seen at the Hines competition website.

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