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Architecture student's team wins $50,000 urban design competition

Sunday, April 14, 2013

LAWRENCE — A team of five students that included KU Department of Architecture student Lauren Leigh Brown has won the Urban Land Institute’s Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition. Brown is a fifth-year student in architecture from Hermitage, Mo. She will split the $50,000 prize with her teammates.

The competition required teams of five students made up of at least three areas of study to create urban design plans for the Minneapolis Down East neighborhood. They had two weeks to show how the land could be made into an active urban neighborhood and regional destination.

In February Brown’s team, which included three Kansas State University landscape architecture students, and an MBA student from the University of Missouri-Kansas City learned it had beaten 145 teams to become one of four finalists in the contest.

Over the past two months the team spent hundreds of hours developing their designs and rehearsing their presentations. On April 11, the team presented their work in Minneapolis, as did rival teams from Ball State-Purdue, Harvard and Yale Universities.

Each team made a 25-minute presentation followed by 20 minutes of questions. After deliberating for several hours, and discussing for the strengths and flaws of each of the plans, the judges announced that Brown’s team had taken the prize.

“We are of course elated and very proud of our accomplishment,” Brown said. “I owe a tremendous thanks to my adviser, architecture professor Genevieve Baudoin, and all of our schools and classmates.”

The Urban Land Institute/Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition is now in its 11th year. It is named for the founder of Hines, one of the world’s largest real estate firms, which is headquartered in Houston.