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Competition challenges students to design for crisis
Mar 13, 2014

This year’s ASID competition, Shelter, challenged budding designers to consider solutions for temporary shelter in cases of crisis. Four students from across the country have been chosen as winners for their innovative solutions which addressed the health, safety and welfare of a community in distress.
The project called for considering ways existing, vacant buildings can be temporarily converted into shelters. Participants conducted needs assessments and rigorously researched design solutions that met code requirements and specified locations for sanitation, electrical power, technology interfaces, food, water and supplies. Most importantly, proposed designs needed to accommodate a potentially large number of disparate individuals.
The winning students and their projects are as follows:
Competition challenges students to design for crisis
First place winner—Sarah Wadding of Anderson University, Anderson, S.C.
Wadding created "The Anchor," a flexible shelter solution applicable to a wide variety of displacement situations from the Anchorage, Alaska, earthquake to the tornado in Kansas or the Syrian civil war. The concept is a transportable prefabrication pod system that provides swift, secure refuge. It provides basic essentials including food, water, sleep and sanitation before addressing tertiary needs such as emotional well-being and next steps.
“Upon reading the problem statement and project requirements provided by ASID, it was evident how unique the research, problem solving and design would be,” said Wadding. “From the moment I received this project, I was captivated by the design problem and solution. Our world is constantly barraged with disaster, whether man-made or natural, and the individuals affected by such crises have the right to shelter and safety.”
Competition challenges students to design for crisis
Judges commended Wadding, a senior design major in the School of Interior Design at Anderson University, for submitting a strong overall proposal elevated by her in-depth research and the insightful rationale expressed in her problem and concept statements. The panel also noted that her project was one of the first to explore what a "shelter aesthetic" might look like.
“As an emerging professional, being given a project with such weight and importance is a reminder of how vital an interior designer’s job is upon graduating,” said Wadding. “We are in this to design spaces that provide functional environments that support and enhance the life of all. It is truly an honor to be recognized for such a pivotal design concept.”
Competition challenges students to design for crisis
Wadding will receive the $2,000 grand prize and trip to Los Angeles where she will be honored at the annual ASID design gala on June 21.
Honorable Mentions:
Competition challenges students to design for crisis
Yating ChangParsons The New School of Design, New York City
Chang proposed a utopian "Shelter for the People of New York City" that can operate up to one year after a natural disaster such as Hurricane Sandy to provide safety and comfort for evacuees, offering a place where public and private areas coexist.
Competition challenges students to design for crisis
Xuan LiuVirginia Commonwealth University, Richmond
With the Sichuan, China, earthquake in mind, Liu designed "HOPE" (Hold on Pain Ends), a functional "safe haven" that provides a residential core, storage and interactive communal space for emergency, transitional and durable shelter.
“I believe any good design that helps people live better is achieved through profoundly observing social problems, analyzing them critically, and solving them creatively,” said Xin.
Competition challenges students to design for crisis
Xie XinVirginia Tech, Blacksburg
Xin conceived an "Emergency Clinic & Eco Healing Complex" for Hurricane Katrina evacuees based upon portable, prefabricated cubic units that can be assembled and disassembled in temporary and more long-term facilities that provide a range of rescue and shelter services.
The students were encouraged to submit their proposal as though it were being presented to a government agency—such as FEMA and leaders of the affected community—by preparing a written concept/statement and design concept boards that visually represented their ideas.
ASID appointed a distinguished panel of industry leaders to judge the competition which included: Chrysanthe B. Broikos, architectural historian and curator at the National Building Museum; Vincent G. Carter, FASID, senior program manager and architect for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Gisela Garrett, marketing strategist with Perkins+Will; and Michael P. Murphy, co-founder and CEO of MASS Design Group.

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