Alagasco marks 50 years of sponsoring design competition for Auburn architecture students

AUBURN – The year 2011 marks the 50th consecutive year Alagasco has sponsored a design competition to benefit fourth year architecture students at Auburn University. To celebrate the anniversary, Alagasco, represented by company president and COO Dudley Reynolds, will host a reception and exhibition of student work from the 2010 design competition, Friday, June 24, at 5 p.m. at the Alagasco Center for Energy Technology in Birmingham.

In 1961, Alagasco and the Auburn University Architecture Program initiated an annual student design competition to support international study and travel for Auburn students and to raise awareness of natural gas as an energy source in building systems and appliances. Now, the annual Alagasco design competition provides support in the form of scholarships for up to four students.

“Over the course of 50 years, generations of Auburn architecture students have vied for this prestigious design award by submitting designs for building projects proposed by Auburn faculty,” said David Hinson, head of the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture. “This event has become a challenging rite of passage for all students completing the fourth year of the architecture program at Auburn University.”

Since the initial year of the competition, more than 100 architecture students have received support from the program. The late Samuel Mockbee, co-founder of the Rural Studio, was a past Alagasco competition winner.

The project for the 2010 Alagasco competition was a 500,000-square-foot children’s hospital located in the Streeterville neighborhood in Chicago. The site for the project was adjacent to the existing Northwestern University Women’s Hospital at the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Mies van der Rohe Way. After returning from a Chicago site visit, students spent time studying patient care units and typical hospital floor plans and considered how to use architecture to create an environment for children.

In early December 2010, a visiting jury reviewed and selected eight semifinalists out of 54 projects with the intention of awarding scholarship monies provided by Alagasco to the top three finalists. After debating the merits of each of the eight semifinalists, four projects were selected for recognition, with two projects tied for third place in a jury deadlock.

The 2010 student award winners of the Alagasco competition are Ivan Vanchev, first place; Gorham Bird, second place; Ken Lao and Andrew Taylor, third place.

Those attending the event will include David Hinson; Christian Dagg, associate professor of Architecture and coordinator of the fourth year program and the Alagasco competition; and Rebecca O’Neal Dagg, interim dean of the College of Architecture, Design and Construction.

The winners of the 2010 competition will attend the event, as will Auburn architecture alumni and other members of the Alabama design community.

To learn more about the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture in Auburn University’s College of Architecture, Design and Construction, go to http://www.cadc.auburn.edu/Arch.

(Written by Neali Vann.)

Contact: David Hinson, (334) 844-4516 (hinsodw@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)