2017 Best of Design Award for Student Work: Preston Outdoor Education Station

Designer: el dorado
School: Kansas State University, College of Architecture, Planning, and Design
Location: Elmdale, Kansas

YMCA’s Camp Wood called on Kansas State University’s fifth-year architecture studio to design and build an outdoor education station on its property within the Tallgrass Prairie, North America’s most endangered landscape. Two requirements were given: The project must survive annual prairie burns, and the work must dissolve elegantly into the landscape. What began as a simple shade structure evolved into a flexible, programmable, and experiential backdrop for intimately connecting campers to the immediate landscape. Each station, designed and built by students, engages the environment and locally sourced materials to focus on essential elements of the prairie: insects, wind, stone, grass, and sky. The stations are connected by a pathway that extends from a 300-linear-foot dry-stacked limestone wall.

“This is an elegant pavilion, and an impressive scale for a group of students. The detailing is well-executed.” —Matt Shaw, senior editor, The Architect’s Newspaper (juror)

Camp Wood Director and Client:
Ken Wold

Stone Mason:
Luke Koch, Koch Construction Specialties

Rick Mitchell, Mitchell-Markowitz Construction

Jay Scott, Scott Construction

Machine Shop:
R-TECH Tool and Machine


Honorable Mention

Project: Waldo Duplex
Designer: el dorado
School: Kansas State University, College of Architecture, Planning, and Design
Location: Kansas City, Missouri

Waldo Duplex, el dorado (Mike Sinclair)

Designed by a group of fifth-year architecture students from Kansas State University, this project addressed the needs of a historic neighborhood with a severe housing-cost burden. At 725 square feet per unit, efficiency allowed for high-quality finishes, custom cabinetry, and a generous quality of light and social space despite a budget of $290,000 ($200 per square foot).

Honorable Mention

Project: Big Vic and the Blue Furret
Designer: Rajah Bose
School: California College of the Arts
Location: San Francisco, California

Big Vic and the Blue Furret, Rajah Bose (Rajah Bose)

Bic Vic and the Blue Furret imagines what would happen if the architects of San Francisco’s Victorian period mashed together their kit of parts. Recognizable elements—like the turret and mansard cupola—combine to spawn a new sort of creature.

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