LSU Architecture Students Place in Top of Earth Architecture Competition

The LSU School of Architecture is pleased to announce that ten students in the Bachelor of Architecture program recently placed in the top 40 of the fifth Earth Architecture Competition DESIGNING A RURAL ARTS CENTER FOR SENEGAL. Students in the ARCH 3001 studios, taught by Professor Ursula Emery McClure and Assistant Professor Robert Holton, spent five weeks of the fall semester designing projects and preparing competition entries for submittal. The following third-year students received Top 40 Design Entries awards: Daniel Berg, Austin Copete, Nicholas Dubuc, Claire Duncan, Cornisha Lyons, Kaylan Mitchell, Cory Natal, Logan Osborn, Dylan Roth, and Antonio Tejeda.

The Earth Architecture Competition, organized by the Nka Foundation, aims for sustainable architecture designs intended for real-world application. Every design team that made the Top 40 Entries shortlist is offered the opportunity to build their design in Senegal. The competition jurors used judging criteria involving form, function and technical issues to evaluate all entries in the contest.

Through the 5th Earth Architecture Competition, Nka Foundation issued a challenge to professionals and students of architecture, design, urban planning and others from around the world. The challenge was to design a modern mud type to be built as a unit of an artisanal village, a residential vocational training center for unemployed rural youths of ages 16 to 25 years to undergo a two-year skills development training in the vocational arts and design in the Diakounda village in Sédhiou Region of the Casamance in Senegal.

The contestant was to design one of the following school types: a classroom, cafeteria, office building, dormitory, group toilet, dwelling type for the local teachers, and guest house type for our international visiting staff.

“The LSU awarded students selected projects covered the full range of building types and each student in the course successfully completed a cost analysis per the competition guidelines,” said School of Architecture professor Ursula Emery McClure.

The winning designs emphasize cost efficient construction and sustainable architecture by fully integrating earth architecture and passive solar design. Therefore, the competing teams were to design their school types for construction by maximum use of earth and local labor. Total cost of constructing the design entry was not to exceed $10,000 (USD) for materials and labor.

“My design, Senegal Seasonings, serves as a space that allows students to relax for a meal or a quick bite as they converse with classmates over their current scholastic achievements and trials,” said architecture student Claire Duncan, one of the top entry winners. “With both a social environment for interactional learning and an economic design through passive solar energy, Senegal Seasoning utilizes local and natural materials.”

Earth Architecture Competition design entry

Design Entry by student Claire Duncan

The competition promotes open source design, which implies that the submitted designs will be available for all to appreciate, use, or improve them to generate more practical and contemporary design solutions for the region. The organizers’ long-term goal is “to enable the rural population and lots of other places, to overcome the stigma that mud architecture is for the very poor,” according to the Nka Foundation.

The Nka Foundation will host building workshops to realize the construction of the Top 40 Design Entries, beginning in February 2018. Through an open call for volunteers, each workshop will bring together professionals and students of architecture, landscape architecture, design, engineering, urban planning, the arts and others from around the world to share their expertise. After the students have learned some construction techniques, they will test their acquired knowledge and skills by building the next part of the school or some functional buildings for the community.

“Thus, the students are challenged to solve real problems, work together, to learn and build and create,” according to the Nka Foundation.