Student architecture trio win international prize with Philadelphia design
Freddie Garside, aged 22, Asma Dauleh, 23, and Nick Husband, 24 - all first year Masters of Architecture students - fought off stiff competition from hundreds of other entries, to be named as one of five award-winning groups in the ‘The Better Philadelphia Challenge’. Founded in 2006 in memory of Philadelphia’s iconic 20th Century city planner, Ed Bacon, the competition challenges university-level students to address real-world urban design issues in Philadelphia.
The trio, who have become firm friends after they were grouped to work together for the project as part of their coursework, said they were thrilled and proud to be prize winners in such a prestigious international competition. They won the ‘Special Jury Prize for Alternative Energy’ for their innovative design entry and travelled to Philadelphia for the awards ceremony to present their project.
One of the architectural drawings presented as part of the project competition entry.
Nick, who said he hoped that his future architectural career would open up opportunities for him to work abroad, explained: “Our brief was to consider the future of Petty Island – an area in the Delaware River which forms the border between the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The island is currently uninhabited, and the general public are not allowed to access it. Over the centuries there have been multiple development proposals for Petty, but it still languishes today as a nearly-forgotten storage site for petroleum tanks and cargo containers.
“We were asked to consider how might Petty Island – and the land adjacent to it on the Philadelphia side of the Delaware River – might be developed as a visionary 21st Century complex habitat that creatively addresses today’s and tomorrow’s cultural, environmental, and economic needs.”
The group had a two week window to submit their project entry, which they entitled ‘A Bio Fuel Future’.
Another architectural drawing by the students which formed part of their submission.
Asma, who following university hopes to work in third world countries, in the development of self-sustained eco-settlement communities, said: “Our idea was to turn Petty Island into a self-sustained research and nature preserve, which the public, families and school groups could access, utilise, learn from and enjoy. We looked at all of the factors and issues that are currently challenging and affecting Philadelphia and the surrounding areas and how we could turn Petty Island into something which would begin to address those issues. Unemployment is a huge problem in the region, and the need for stable and sustainable jobs is paramount. Our master plan for the Island allowed for education, practice and training which would lead to continual employment.”
Alongside his studies, Freddie is currently working for an award-winning architecture practice. He added: “Philadelphians want to live in a green and healthy city where career opportunities are rife and enduring. We created designs for a site which would become a hub for a biofuel future and which will act as an extension to the city’s existing ‘Green Works Plan’. With our design proposals and plans the Island would flourish to become a self-sustained and renewable energy engineering site, encompassing within it the potential for research, education and preservation.”
Students Nick Husband, Freddie Garside and Asma Dauleh with their fellow competition winners.
‘Better Philadelphia Challenge’ Judge Bob McConnell from architecture firm EwingCole and Co-Chair of the Ed Bacon Memorial Committee, said of the group’s award-winning project: “The team’s focus on the future of bio-chemical fuels was smart as they may continue to be a part of our region’s energy portfolio for to foreseeable future. We were also impressed with the thoughtful way this team developed the site to function even as sea levels rise.”
Alongside their other course mates, the group were co-tutored by Simon Warren and Dr Maria Theodorou. Simon Warren said: “Maria and I are really delighted by this award for Asma, Freddie and Nick. It proves again that the Leeds School of Architecture at Leeds Beckett is a force to be reckoned with in international design competitions. Their project is smart, current and optimistic and we know that it will be an experience that they will never forget.”
Top photo: (L-R) Freddie Garside, Nick Husband and Asma Dauleh.