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Global Track Students Win Top Prize at AIA Honolulu Awards

A team of Global Track Students consisting of Richie Robinson, Bruce White, Feifan Chen, and Li Wenzhu were awarded the Award of Excellence in the 2020 AIA Honolulu Design Awards. This highest honor recognizes projects that are deemed to exemplify excellence of architectural design on all levels of analysis and exemplify the highest standards to which AIA members aspire.

The teams awarded project, "Hongkou Hub - Sustainable Community Farming in Urban Shanghai" was a joint effort between the designers with the goal of addressing fresh food shortages in one of the largest cities in the World. Given the COVID-19 pandemic this year, the teams collaborative effort was entirely done remotely from opposite ends of the world, with the students never meeting in person to discuss and work on the design.

The project was inspired by the temporary bamboo scaffolding found all over construction sites in China. The designers were inspired by the way the scaffolding could be so quickly constructed and deconstructed. While the Urban Food Hub would need to be more permanent than construction site scaffolding, the designers still recognized great benefit in a system that could expand and retract according to community demand and need. The solution the team set upon was a steel framing system that mimicked traditional bamboo framing and included connections where bamboo framing members could be added onto the structure for temporal conditions such as pop-up farmers markets or seasonal growing demands.

In addition to the expandable structural frame. The design for the Hongkou Hub was inspired by the most pressing needs of the community. The designers created a propriety aeroponic food growing system to maximize the food production potential, and included a market, restaurant, teaching kitchen, and vendor stalls to create jobs and stimulate the local economy. It was important to the design team to create a space in the city where relocated rural migrant workers could find employment in agriculture-based work, what they're already familiar with, rather than having to work in factories. The team envisions the Hongkou Hub to serve as a prototype that could then be implemented and replicated throughout Urban Shanghai.

This was the team's award for this project, having also won an Honorable Mention Award in the 2020 ACSA Steel Competition, placing the project in the top six of over 200 entries. Two other Global Track projects also were awarded honorable mention in the competition.

Another Global Track student was also recognized in this year's AIA Honolulu Design Awards. My Tran won an honorable mention award for his project investigating the future of sustainable high-rise residential design for Shanghai.

We're thrilled with the recognition of our Global Track Students' hard work and appreciate the Honolulu Chapter AIA and all those involved in making this year's awards happen.

The full award video of the Global Track student's projects can be found at:


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