Auburn University students win first place in minority architect design competition

By Stephanie Bond, College of Architecture, Design and Construction



The challenge was to turn an Atlanta MARTA stop into a transit village that would become a "community incubator" for local services and community activities. Fifteen student teams from architecture schools across the country recently competed in this juried student design competition as part of the National Organization of Minority Architects, or NOMA, annual conference in Atlanta with a student team from Auburn University's School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture's winning the first place prize of $1,500. This was the first year an Auburn team competed in the event.

The team's design for the Vine City Village Walk balanced the historic character of the neighborhood with its changing needs, according to Carla Jackson Bell, director of multicultural affairs for the College of Architecture, Design and Construction, which houses the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture. Bell and visiting assistant professor Kevin Moore served as advisers on the project.

Their design solution met the criteria of preserving and enhancing the existing corridor with a pedestrian-oriented project that engaged street and sidewalk development.

"The jury noted that this project was exceptional in its understanding of grounding the project in the past but looking to the future," Moore added. "They were impressed with the sleek form of the design, the approach to sustainability and the concept of a large porch that honors the history of the community and provides opportunities for markets, festivals and other events."

Team members included students Tanner Backman, Damian Bolden, Jordan Cox, Andrew Dolder, Phillip Ewing, Sarahgrace Godwin, Jason Groomes, Kyle Johnson, Weng Lon "Kenneth" Lau, Yesufu Oladip and Laura Taylor.

"This group of students on the NOMA design team is from my first recruiting class," said Bell, who joined the College of Architecture, Design and Construction in 2006. "I'm exceptionally proud of them."

Thanks to Bell's efforts, the college has experienced an 8 percent increase in recruitment success, retention and graduation rates of underrepresented students.

The college has 35 active NOMA members, who also participated in the success of the student design competition. The mission of NOMA is "to champion diversity within the design professions by promoting the excellence, community engagement, and professional development of its members." One way it meets its mission is through its annual conference and sponsoring the student design competition. More information about NOMA is available at

"The Auburn University College of Architecture, Design and Construction recognizes and values the considerable educational benefits emanating from diversity as it prepares students for life and leadership in a multicultural world," Bell said. "Students who interact with and learn about people from a variety of backgrounds are more apt to understand, appreciate and excel in the community they inhabit."

More information about the college's diversity program and the NOMA student design competition is available by contacting Bell at or Moore at More information about the College of Architecture, Design and Construction is available at

Last Updated: Jan. 11, 2012

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