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Design Scholarship Winners Announced: Rice University School of Architecture Student Team Wins Grand Prize

Posted by Rowena Winkler on 8/21/17 11:55 AM

Now in its third year, our Design Scholarship has continued to help students reach their highest potential by offering nearly $40,000 in prizes for projects that demonstrate the creativity and high-caliber work of the next generation of design professionals.

Like previous award cycles, this year’s pool of entries was fiercely competitive. Ningxin Cheng (B.Arch. 2017) and Kalen McNamara (M.Arch. 2018) from Rice University’s School of Architecture were selected from more than 2,000 entrants as this year’s winners of the prestigious Richard Diehl Award. Their project, “Open Pocket,” went through a vigorous judging process and ultimately won the $10,000 grand prize.


From L to R: Cheng and McNamara, Richard Diehl Award winners From L to R: Cheng and McNamara, Richard Diehl Award winners.


For their submission, Cheng and McNamara entered an assignment from their fall 2016 advanced studio, taught by Assistant Professor Andrew Colopy. The studio is part of Totalization, a unique collaborative design program at Rice Architecture, which has been honored with distinction by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), as well as the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ASCA).

“We are thrilled by this news and by this distinguished and generous recognition of Ningxin and Kalen’s terrific work,” said Dean of the Rice School of Architecture Sarah Whiting. “Nothing is more heartening than having the professional world help foster the next generation.”


Cheng and McNamara Cheng and McNamara’s winning project, “Open Pocket.”


In addition to Cheng and McNamara’s recognized achievement, an international panel of design professionals and academics also selected student projects that were awarded $3,000 each from across the architecture, landscape, entertainment, and interior design fields. Submissions were evaluated based on design integrity, effective use of computer technology, originality, and a well-articulated design vision. The winning projects are as follows:

  • “Next to Normal” by Ted Brown, University of Iowa
  • “The Other Place” by Alexander Drachenberg, University of Wuppertal (Bergische Universität Wuppertal)
  • “Wander” by Tineke Gol and Astrid Stevens, University of Antwerp (Universiteit Antwerpen)
  • “Zuerichwohnen – Clusterwohnen im Solarhaus” by Joël Héritier, ETH Zürich
  • “Sustainable Energy and Environmental Monitoring Centre, Saltaire” by Peter Markos, University of Sheffield
  • “Moerbekes Regeneratie” by Dries Pattyn, KASK, School of Arts of University College Ghent
  • “Siebenschläfer-Übernachten in der alten Scheune” by Sophia Rodermund, Hochschule Ostwestfalen-Lippe University of Applied Sciences
  • “The Wall” by Brecht Scheelen, UHasselt
  • “The Space Left Behind-Uncovered” by Filip Staszkiewicz, TU Dresden (Technische Universität Dresden)
  • “Wonderland” by Paula Wheeler and Trish Thuy Trang Nhan, Arizona State University

In addition to monetary awards, the students also received licenses of Vectorworks Designer, our top-of-the-line bundle of Architect, Landmark, and Spotlight products for their schools’ labs, as well as free training provided by one of our experts.

For Cheng and McNamara and the other student winners, the scholarship perfectly demonstrates how we continue our commitment to support student endeavors related to transformative design.

For more information on Cheng and McNamara and our other winning designs, check out our Design Scholarship web gallery. If you’d like to be notified about next year’s call for entries, please join our email list.

Topics: Academia, Alexander Drachenberg, Architecture, Arizona State University, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, Astrid Stevens, Brecht Scheelen, Design Scholarship, Dries Pattyn, Entertainment, ETH Zürich, Filip Staszkiewicz, Hochschule Ostwestfalen-Lippe University of Applie, interior design, Joël Héritier, Kalen McNamara, KASK, Landscape, National Architectural Accrediting Board, Ningxin Cheng, Paula Wheeler, Peter Markos, Rice University School of Architecture, Richard Diehl Award, Sarah Whiting, Scholarship, School of Arts of University College Ghent, Sophia Rodermund, Ted Brown, Tineke Gol, Totalization, Trish Thuy Trang Nhan, TU Dresden, UHasselt, University of Antwerp, University of Iowa, University of Sheffield, University of Wuppertal, Vectorworks Design Scholarship 2017, Vectorworks Designer

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