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A UTSA architecture student team consisting of Mauricio Garza, Rachel Henkes, Jesus Alfonso Hernandez, and Zayra Rico, led by Faculty Advisor Armando Araiza, are the winners of the Texas Society of Architects (TxA) Student Design Competition! The news of their winning proposal, “Emerging Galveston,” was announced this morning, October 25, at the TxA Annual Conference, “Immersion,” held in Galveston, Texas. UTSA competed against student teams from Texas A&M University, Rice University, Texas Tech University, and Del Mar College, who were asked to engage the future challenges to resilience for the City of Galveston. A huge congratulations to instructor Ariaza and our students!

From the competition prompt:
Galveston has endured many events throughout its history that caused rapid changes redefining the prevailing discontinuities represented by the coastline, economic development, gentrification, historic structures, and historic neighborhoods and yet it remains remarkably resilient. Is there a tipping point for Galveston where its current resilience fails? What can architecture offer to ensure Galveston remains resilient?

Each school chose the challenge they wished to address and the process and product that would best communicate their ideas. The competition was a two-day charrette, in which information on various climate, economic, and demographic data on Galveston was provided to the students. Each team provided a single 20 x 30 poster of their project and made a 20-minute presentation at the TxA conference, allowing 10 minutes for questions by the jury.

The UTSA project, “Emerging Galveston,” engages with the reality of rapid climate change, noting that Galveston will inevitably be underwater at some point in time. Because of Galveston’s extensive grid layout of its existing streets, the UTSA students decided that modular design would be the best approach because it allows for quick construction in emergency scenarios. Phase 1 of their design proposal introduces floating modular palettes to Galveston before significant flooding occurs, allowing residents to familiarize themselves with this future construction for the city through an observation bridge made from the floating palettes that also offers recreational activities for people.

Read the full story from the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning.