James P. Cramer Roundtable Discussion, UNM School of Architecture and Planning

(Crossposted at Carolyn’s Blog)

“While you can’t afford to be in denial about the recession, you don’t want to fully participate in it, either,” reminds DesignIntelligence Founding EditorJames P. Cramer. Cramer co-chairs the Design Futures Council, an interdisciplinary network of design, product, and construction leaders who explore global trends and challenges.

Cramer visited the UNM School of Architecture and Planning recently to lead a discussion around the theme “What Does the Future Look Like and What Are We Going to Do about It?” for  architects, planners and others. Roger Schluntz, dean of the school, invited local professionals from his Council for Design and Planning Excellence to participate.

“Short-term constructive paranoia is for the long-term good,” Cramer said. He indicated that architects and others will have to work harder in the next 10 years than the last 10 years. “Think of it,” he said, “The Yellow Pages, video stores, film cameras, checks, analog televisions and ash trees (because of the borer), have disappeared.”

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Antonio Vigil Rocks!

I recently posted a story about another award won by UNM graduate student of architecture, Antonio Vigil. Antonio graduated in May, but his awards keep coming.

This time, he was recognized for excellence in digital design at the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture conference in Chicago. The AutoDesSys held the 17th Annual Awards Banquet of its Joint Study Program for Excellence in Design, an annual international program sponsored by Form Z digital modeling software.

Antonio was awarded the prize of distinction, first place, in the urban design category. His studio design project 35º | 106º [downtown arena] was honored for innovation and creative graphic presentation. UNM Professors Tim B. Castillo, Karen King and Rana Abu-Dayyeh were faculty advisors for the project.

Jury comments:
“After a rather insightful analysis of an urban environment, an imaginatively designed arena becomes a catalyst for the revitalization of a downtown. While the study is applied to a specific city, its validity is almost universal, at least within the content of the USA. This project succeeds on the urban as well as on the building scale. The graphic presentation is beautifully crafted and could easily pass for a professional project. It is all done through an effective use of digital tools, which is one more reason that this project deserves recognition.”

The UNM designs were up against Cal Poly, Cardiff, Texas Tech, University of Wales and others.

To see more about the competition and the winning designs, visit http://www.formz.com/jointstudy/JS2008_09/awards20082009.html

This isn’t the first time that his work has garnered this kind of attention. The guy rocks.

Last year, Antonio submitted his design of an Albuquerque-area recycling center within a local market as part of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and Portland Cement Association’s third annual sustainable concrete student design competition. And he won first the place award- from entries from more than 800 students from 33 architecture schools around the world!

Geoffrey Adams is one of the professors who has helped Antonio develop his skills. Geoff says that the studio itself is a design problem. “The question is how to take 15 students through exercises and experiences to allow them to perform at their best,” Adams said.

He stresses all facets of design. “They need to be analytical, work in the digital realm, develop freehand skills – we steal from the painter’s toolbox. It opens up their imagination,” he said.

Geoff gives his students props when it comes to going up against the big guns in national and international design competitions.  “The students we have are willing to rise to the challenge. The graduate students who are successful in competitions have often gone through our undergraduate program. They bring their skills and thoughtfulness with them to the studio.”

So, I had to find out what this guy’s doing now that he’s graduated and out in the real world.  He’s interning at Mullen Heller Architecture. http://www.mullenheller.com/

Antonio says they’re a small firm so he’s getting to get involved with different aspects of the job. Mullen Heller worked close to UNM with the Brick Light Courtyard complex. And being a Los Alamos native, he’s happy that they recently got the contract to design a visitor city for White Rock, a ‘burb of Los Alamos.

Keep an eye on this guy. He’s going to do great things.