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Source: LaQuita Jackson, laquita.lorraine@gmail.com
News release prepared by: Calin Cooney, 785-532-2535, media@k-state.edu

Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010

K-STATE ARCHITECTURE STUDENTS RECEIVE FOURTH PLACE AT NATIONAL COMPETITION

MANHATTAN -- Kansas State University's student chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects earned fourth place in the organization's recent Student Design Competition in Boston.

For the competition, teams had to optimize the renovation of an existing community center and community garden in the Boston area. Presented with the project in March, schools had roughly six months to prepare the design prior to the competition. The design team then traveled to the conference to present the project.

Eleven K-State students represented the university at the conference. The group's faculty adviser is LaBarbara Wigfall, associate professor of landscape architecture and regional and community planning.

"There are around 20 members in our chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects Students," said LaQuita Jackson, a master's student in architecture, Grandview, Mo., and chapter president. "Not everyone participates in the competition because of school and other obligations. We do have meetings where we receive input from other students, and then faculty in the college critique us and offer feedback. We typically have the older students working on the design, and younger students focus on the model and research."

Jackson said the competition is becoming more detailed. "This year we had to incorporate a budget team, and also a LEED team that focused on sustainability for the project," she said.

Finding time to work on the competition project was challenging, Jackson said.

"Some schools include the competition as part of their studio work. At K-State, everything with NOMAS is done outside of our studio, so it’s work on top of school work, and with summer break we always find ourselves starting over on the competition in the fall, which adds to the demand," she said.

Placing fourth in the competition, and beating Cornell, the top ranked undergraduate architecture school according to Architectural Record.com, has K-State's NOMAS chapter excited about the future.

"We are always told that we have good designs and strong concepts," Jackson said. "We just need to improve on model and presentation. This year they really liked our concept and our boards, so we're proud of that, but we're still looking to improve more next year. We want to win."