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Public can help UB architects win international awards for waterfront project, dining 'cube'

by jmaloni

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Fri, Mar 14th 2014 03:50 pm
Christopher Romano (left) and Nicholas Bruscia stand in front of Project 2XmT, a sculptural wall they built at the gateway to Silo City in Buffalo. (photo by Douglas Levere, University at Buffalo)
Christopher Romano (left) and Nicholas Bruscia stand in front of Project 2XmT, a sculptural wall they built at the gateway to Silo City in Buffalo. (photo by Douglas Levere, University at Buffalo)

The waterfront project is Project 2XmT, a freestanding wall of folded steel that sits at the gateway to Silo City in Buffalo

A sculptural wall and minimalist dining set designed by University at Buffalo architects are finalists in the international Architizer A+ Awards competition — a prestigious recognition in the world of architecture and design.

The public can help the local projects win by voting online in a Popular Choice Award contest until March 21.

The projects, and how to vote for them:

•Project 2XmT, a sculptural wall that sits at the gateway to Silo City, a cluster of grain elevators along the Buffalo River. The structure is crafted from more than 150 pieces of super-thin steel folded into geometric patterns. Nicholas Bruscia, clinical assistant professor of architecture, and Christopher Romano, research assistant professor of architecture, led design and construction.

The public can vote for Project 2XmT in two Architizer A+ categories: Architecture +Materials and Architecture +Fabrication. The project is also up for jury awards, to be decided by a global panel of architects, thought leaders and developers, in the same categories.

•Qube, a dining set that folds up into a compact cube. Assistant Professor of Architecture Jin Young Song, who designed Qube through his architectural practice, Dioinno Architecture PLLC, says the project offers a stark contrast to "overdesigned decorative furniture or oversized geometric modern pieces obsessed with Zen style" which fail to consider the "compactness of current living style."

The public can vote for Qube in the Architizer A+ Products +Living category. The project is also up for a jury award, to be decided by a global panel of architects, thought leaders and developers, in the same category.

The high-profile global Architizer A+ Awards program recognizes projects in more than 60 categories.

Last year's contest drew more than 1,500 entries from more than 100 countries, and one winner was Elevator B, a tower that UB architecture and planning students built to house a colony of bees in Silo City. That structure took home the Architizer A+ Jury Award in the Student Design/Build Project category.

UB's record of success in the Architizer competition demonstrates the innovative research taking place in the university's School of Architecture and Planning.

Bruscia and Romano's freestanding wall showcases the visual qualities of patterned and textured metal manufactured by local company Rigidized Metals. The project tests the structural limits of the thin-gauge materials.

The Architizer A+ recognition is the third international honor for Project 2XmT since the faculty members and their students erected the wall in the summer of 2013. Last fall, Bruscia and Romano earned first place in the TEX-FAB SKIN competition. The project also won The Architect's Newspaper 2014 Best Fabrication award.

Romano's and Bruscia's research is the result of a partnership between the Department of Architecture in the School of Architecture and Planning; and Rigidized Metals, which fabricated the textured metal, assisted in the wall's construction and has sponsored related design studios and directed research at the school as a way to explore new uses for its materials.

Students have been engaged in the research since its start in spring 2012. Master of Architecture students Daniel Vrana and Philip Gusmano, both graduates of the undergraduate architecture program, have spent the past several months taking the project from concept to production.

The partnership is one result of Department of Architecture Chair Omar Khan's efforts to cooperate with local manufacturers - outreach that has led to new courses and research on materials from metals to terra cotta.

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