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K-State Today

March 5, 2013

The final four: Landscape architecture students advance in prestigious design competition

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

A team of graduate students from Kansas, which includes three students from the Kansas State University department of landscape architecture and regional and community planning, is one of four finalists for the Urban Land Institute's Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition.

The Kansas team will compete against teams from Harvard University, Yale University and a joint team from Ball State University and Purdue University for a $50,000 prize.

Team members from Kansas State University, all master's students in landscape architecture, include Kylie Harper, Hutchinson; Derek Hoetmer, Valley Center; and Kevin Cunningham, Denver, Colo., who is the team leader. Other members include Lauren Brown from the University of Kansas and Tyler Knott from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Team adviser is Jason Brody, an assistant professor of regional and community planning at Kansas State University's College of Architecture, Planning and Design.

The team's entry is called "The Armory."

"The students designed a cosmopolitan urban district that takes advantage of all of the great urban amenities that Minneapolis already possesses or is in the process of developing -- transit, cycling infrastructure, sports and cultural venues," Brody said.

"Their proposal centers on the historic Minneapolis Armory, a landform building incorporating destination retail, a subterranean parking structure and a unique civic park space that slopes up from the ground plane to connect into Minneapolis' extensive skyway network," he said. "It is a wonderfully exciting concept that brings together a rich set of urban experiences and creates some very attractive development assets."

The competition started with 149 teams comprised of 790 students representing 70 different universities in both the U.S. and Canada. The task was to create a redevelopment proposal for the Downtown East area of Minneapolis. The catch? None of the teams could visit the site the site before creating a plan.

"Our team's success demonstrates the power of collaboration in design thinking," said Kansas State University's Stephanie Rolley, head of the department of landscape architecture and regional and community planning and a team adviser. "They applied cutting-edge knowledge and skills from each of their disciplines, resulting in a compelling design for the future of Minneapolis Downtown East supported by a creative financial plan. Their proposal is elegant in its execution and delivery."

During March, the teams will have the opportunity to visit the site and then expand their original schemes and respond in more detail to the problem posed by the competition. The final review will be April 10-11, as each team travels to Minneapolis to present its plan at a public forum before a distinguished jury of national leaders in design and development.

Along with Brody and Rolley, advisers to the team include Blake Belanger, associate professor of landscape architecture, and Gary Stith, professor of regional and community planning, at Kansas State University; Genevieve Baudoin, professor of architecture at the University of Kansas; Walt Clement, director of the Lewis White Real Estate Center at the University of Missouri-Kansas City; and Jerry Jones from the Slawson Companies in Wichita and a 1983 bachelor's graduate in landscape architecture from Kansas State University.

The Hines competition strives to encourage cooperation and teamwork -- necessary talents in the planning, design and development of sustainable communities -- among future land-use professionals and allied professions, such as architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, historic preservation, engineering, real estate development, finance, psychology and law. It is open to graduate students who are pursuing real estate-related studies at universities in the United States and Canada, including programs in real estate development, urban planning, urban design, architecture and landscape architecture.

For more information on the competition, visit the Urban Land Institute's Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition website.

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