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Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

NJIT Architecture Students Receive $25,000 Grand Prize for Townhouse Design

The NJIT College of Architecture and Design (COAD) has received the $25,000 grand prize for 2010 from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) for a small modern townhouse. Architecture students developed the design last semester for the Newark Chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Entitled “The Box and Beyond,” the project illustrated how even on a budget, good design can prevail.  According to NCARB, the prize honored the creative integration of practice and education. Five additional prize recipients received awards of $7,500.

“NJIT has always prided itself on its connectivity to the profession and that we continually strive to make architectural education relevant,” said NJIT associate professor Darius Sollohub, who taught the class. Working with Sollohub was NJIT alumnus and affordable housing expert Jak Inglese, Inglese Architecture and Engineering, East Rutherford, a licensed New Jersey architect and engineer. The class helped students successfully bridge the hypothetical with the pragmatic.

To design the house, students met with architects, engineers, city planners, sustainability consultants, Habitat staff, and current owners of Habitat-built homes to create the winning design, a runner-up design, and six honorable mentions that Habitat for Humanity would consider for future projects.

The student who produced the winning design, Alex Merlucci, of Kinnelon, and runner-up winner Cara Constantino, of Bloomfield, received an internship with Inglese to advance the house through the construction documents phase.

This fall, the entire studio expects to return and build the house that they helped design. Area participants will include Anthony Allocca, Florham Park; Daniel Chelchowski, Kenilworth; Sherry Edwards, West Milford; Shannon Hohlbein, Pennington; Edward Lay, Piscataway; Joan Lui, South Brunswick; Colin McArdle, Atco; Ala Rustom, Wayne; and Allison Termyna, Clifton. Others will include Peter Tobiassen, McLean, VA and Katherine Cerniglia, Lindenhurst, NY.

According to the NCARB Prize jury, the project incorporated excellent involvement of an outside architect in a real world context and taught involvement and commitment beyond its architectural lessons. It also balanced the professional and technical learning with social and cultural realms.

“In our collaboration with Habitat,” added Sollohub, “we are committed to previewing the building experience for our students.  This effort is evident in our annual masonry competition during which professional masons work here with our students to build student-designed bricks and mortar small structures. This and other projects continue a strong tradition of interdisciplinary work at COAD.  Helpful too has been the availability of our colleagues--sustainability experts Paul Romano and Christine Bruncati--at the NJIT Center for Building Knowledge.”

The NCARB Prize encourages, rewards, and showcases architecture programs that excel in integrating practice and education in an academic setting. Projects must be for credit, integrate non-faculty architect practitioners, and have started no earlier than fall 2008 and completed or in progress by fall 2010. Projects must also be innovative. Since 2002, the NCARB Prize has recognized 68 projects and has awarded over $500,000 to programs accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) and programs that are candidates for NAAB accreditation.

One of the nation's leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT's multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of more than 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering, and cyber-security, in addition to others. NJIT ranks 5th among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $110 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com.