Paige Steed (Architecture) Wins SALA Prize for "Community Canopy"

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Established by SALA Architects in honor of their 25th anniversary, the SALA Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Design honors a BS in architecture student in their final year of design studio. This year’s prize was awarded to Paige Steed.

Her winning design, “Community Canopy,” is for a University District Art Center on the East Bank between the historical Knoll and Dinkytown. She was influenced by the informal paths students make through grass and snow. “I wanted my design to allow for the natural movement of pedestrians, so the structure is raised off the ground,” she explained. “The trees in the Knoll inspired the ‘Canopy’ of the building. Once in the art center’s canopy, the mesh cladding acts as the foliage and provides an experience of lighting as if inside a tree canopy.”

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Her design was also informed by the communities and activity centers surrounding the site. The theatre faces downtown and the educational program is oriented towards University buildings. Ultimately, “art’s connection to nature and nature’s connection to community are experienced by walking through the University District Art center’s three, increasingly private tectonic layers.”

Steed plans to start graduate school next fall and continue on the path the licensure. “My favorite part of studio work and culture is having such a close group of students struggling together,” she said. “It’s hard work, but seeing everyone’s final projects at the end of the semester really makes architecture school great.”

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