Five Student Teams Win $8,000 in Spitzer School Brick Design Contest

Competition sponsored by masonry contractors, bricklayers union challenges third-year architecture students to design meditation space for church

The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture at The City College of New York today announced the winners of $8,000 in prizes in a competition intended to help students learn how to design with brick. Dean George Ranalli and Professor Christian Volkmann, coordinator of the third-year undergraduate studio, presented the awards at a ceremony in the school’s Sciame Auditorium.

The winning teams and the prizes they received are:

First Place: Roman Hatnyanskyy / Lenny Chan, $2,500
Second Place: Sainath Dasma / Midori Tanabe , $2,000
Third Place: Sara Vezelaj / Bruno Pereira-Alexandre, $1,500
Honorable Mention: Jennifer Shteierman / Kevin Pajado, $1,000
Honorable Mention: Matt Chirico / Mark Manakhimov, $1,000

Approximately 50 students in the third-year undergraduate studio participated in the competition, which was sponsored by the Associated Brick Mason Contractors of Greater New York, Inc. (ABMC) and the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Local 1.

They were tasked with designing a meditation space for an open area between the French Evangelical Church and its community hall. The two buildings, which are also made of brick, are located on West 16th Street in Manhattan.

A jury of design and construction professionals selected the winners. Serving on that panel were:

  • Arthur DelSavio, president, DelSavio Construction Corp.
  • Maria Viteri, director of sustainability and program development, International Masonry Institute
  • Malcolm Holzman, Holzman Moss Bottino Architects, FAIA
  • George Ranalli, dean, Spitzer School of Architecture
  • Gordon Gebert, chair, Spitzer School of Architecture
  • Jerry Sullivan, president, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Local 1

All of the designs produced for the competition were compiled in a catalog. The catalog is available in the Spitzer School library.

“Adolf Loos once said, “An architect is a mason who has learned Latin.” To express materials tangibly, and to develop material thinking as a significant part of the design process, we have to discover architecture as an assembly of units,” Professor Volkmann said. “The material perfectly suited to address this unit is, of course, the brick, and we are grateful to AMBC and Local One for supporting this important training for our students.”

"We are thrilled with the results of the competition,” said Dean Ranalli. “The projects awarded are excellent examples of masonry design and construction.  It is very clear from these submissions that brick has the capability to be ‘forever modern’ as a material.  It has a remarkable ability to be part of our environment.  Brick is highly sustainable and it has extraordinary expressive potential to make great symbolic architecture.”

 “We were blown away by the quality of the students' entries in the competition,” said AMBC President Robert A. Massina. “The ABMC congratulates all of the winners and looks forward to working with New York City's next generation of architects in the field of brick and masonry construction.”
“We are proud of the outstanding efforts made by these architectural students in exploring the aesthetic beauty and versatility of brick as a building material,” said Jeremiah Sullivan, president of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Local Union No. 1, NY. “Further, we are grateful to the Spitzer School of Architecture for hosting this contest and for encouraging young architects to utilize masonry.”

About The City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. More than 16,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in: the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture; the School of Education; the Grove School of Engineering; the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, and the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership. U.S. News, Princeton Review and Forbes all rank City College among the best colleges and universities in the United States.

About the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture
The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture at The City College of New York is the only public school of architecture in New York City. It offers programs in Architecture, Urban Landscape Architecture, and Urban Design, and has a student population of approximately 350. Its emphasis on the urban situation as a generator of ideas about the appropriateness of programs and forms in the city landscape is one of the school’s most original aspects. Architecture studios currently pursue programs that are civic, institutional, residential, and commercial allowing the student an in-depth experience of these project types as they are projected into the urban landscape of New York City.

About the Associated Brick Mason Contractors of Greater New York, Inc.
The Associated Brick Mason Contractors of Greater New York, Inc., is one of the oldest associations of building contractors in the City of New York. Founded in 1926, the association is comprised of the major brick and masonry contractors in New York City, Long Island, Westchester, and surrounding areas. The association has represented most of the major brick and masonry subcontractors in the City of New York and employs between 1,750 and 2,500 people annually. Among its main objectives are maintaining the high standards of the unionized construction contracting business in New York, promoting safety and accident prevention programs and continuing the expansion of union masonry construction.

About the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 1
NY Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 1 NY is dedicated to the craft of bricklaying, stone setting, stone tending, masonry restoration and plastering. The union represents more than 5,000 of the most talented masonry craft workers in New York City and Long Island. Their members are responsible for some of New York City’s iconic structures, including Grand Central Station, the Chrysler Building, the Met Life Building, and the American Museum of Natural History, Lincoln Center, the Cloisters, the Frick and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as thousands of office, hospital, school and residential buildings.




Ellis Simon
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