First Place and Honorable Mention in 2021 ACSA Steel Competition

The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) have selected the recipients of the 2021 Steel Design Student Competition. The competition recognizes eleven exceptional projects, in two categories, that explore a variety of issues related to the use of steel in design and construction.


1ST PLACE for GT9 students Moises Lio Can, Zaw Latt, Yaning Zhang, & Ming Xu for their project Immersive Workplace.


Faculty Sponsor: Clark E. Llewellyn, FAIA Collaborators: Marion Fowlkes, FAIA & Stephen S. Huh, FAIA

Juror Comments Immersive Workplace is a well executed design through its innovative use of steel, building form and spatial organization. The students considered the perspective of this building from the occupants point of view, which added an authentic human scale element. The thoroughly documented process of steel use and intricate drawings bring the overall design to a cohesive and well thought-out design.


PROJECT DESCRIPTION Facing the challenge of designing a post-pandemic workplace, site selection which reflected a “working” and “innovative” culture was essential. Studies of office work hours reveal that South Korea has the second most working hours in the OECD. Additionally, the 2021 Bloomberg Innovation Index ranked South Korea as the highest in the world. A chief economist for Citigroup said, “In the year of Covid and facing the urgency of climate change, the importance of innovation fundamentals only increases.” The driving design principles focus on not only the workplace, but additionally, a vision that acknowledges the challenges of communication, transportation, climate change, identity, and community. We questioned the purpose of the physical workplace in the future. To create a built environment that develops a much-improved lifestyle,­ the “Immersive Workplace” reimagines the future of the workplace by emphasizing the integration of public spaces, healthy environments, and transformable spaces. The design integrates both existing and emerging technologies “hyper-smart” and “we space” merge to create a vision for the future. Healthy collaborative spaces integrate the unique social bonding of the culture and the demanding work environment to overcome many of the traditional work/life challenges. Healthy spaces for public and social events create opportunities for employees to collaborate informally and share spontaneous ideas. Using a repetitive steel structure module inspired by fractal patterns with “self-similarity” allows the exploration of repetition and growth at different scales to design flexible and healthy working environments that can adapt to the changing future. The “Immersive Workplace” envisions a future where flying vehicles and autostereoscopic technologies are common. The primary access is through the green roof where drones dock. Inhabitants descend to engage in the varied building programs. Offices and public spaces embrace natural and mechanical strategies to improve all inhabitants’ wellbeing, while Active design promotes physical movement and interaction.


HONORABLE MENTION for GT9 students Ge Tian, Dong Cao, Zhiyu Feng, & Dongyan Jiang for their project Floating Oasis.


Faculty Sponsor: Clark E. Llewellyn, FAIA Collaborators: Marion Fowlkes, FAIA & Stephen S. Huh, FAIA

Juror Comments Floating Oasis is an honorable mention for an innovative structural steel system used in the service of healthy biophilic design. The relationship between the site and open public plaza is much appreciated.


PROJECT DESCRIPTION For a variety of reasons, it is expected many workers will never return to the “office” on a permanent, or full-time basis. For others, however, forced isolation created social and physical detriment, loss of production, lower creativity, challenged communication skills, deteriorating friendships, and more. Beyond the individual, the loss of physically in place urban office workers had a deleterious effect on most urban centers. Public transportation, restaurants, hotels, public venues, outdoor recreation, supporting businesses, and much more were damaged or, in some cases, lost. Therefore, this project has as its focus both the individual as well as the urban center. The urban center selected for this study is considered one of the most vibrant and active in the world. Shanghai, a city of twenty-five million, has over 700 regional headquarters. Most are in central Shanghai near the world-famous Bund area on the Huangpu River. Shanghai’s contemporary architecture is often adventuresome, experimental, and open to technological innovation. While our project remains committed to the Shanghai’s iconic architecture, it also builds a healthy and active relationship with pedestrians and nearby neighborhoods. Opening edges along all sides of the building allows the public, and the office building, to flow into and through the site. Sunken plazas, green spaces which continuously flow from the ground into architecture help blur the line between architecture and landscape. Workers can move from office space to urban space to enjoy fountains design for civic recreation. Additionally, the lower levels are integrated into the upper urban spaces which allows retail, food vending and additional commercial spaces to share the urban landscape. The traditional elements of light, ventilation, and greenery are employed throughout for occupant wellness. Two large steel and glass cores flood all spaces with quality light, clean air, and luscious greenery. Connecting slabs, suspended by steel cables, are active green spaces which dilute the boundaries between inside, outside and the core. The environment is healthy and active. Occupant activity and distancing are emphasized through extending pedestrian routes and integrating a running ramp through the gardens and other areas. By enlarging the pedestrian traffic areas, these become spaces for socializing, sharing ideas, and creating visions of the future. Flexibility to adjust to time and activities is supported by systems that allow office to be divided in smaller or larger spaced by a variety of users. Most public and private spaces are multi-dimensional and interactive. They are designed to encourage many levels of communication and collaboration while keeping the spaces healthy and receptive.