Fifth-year BLA student, Katie Nguyen, recently was awarded first prize (along with Alex Prujean and Michael Cook) at the Australasian Student Competition, “This Public Space.” Nguyen, who is studying abroad at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, presented her work at the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects conference in Melbourne, Australia.
Nguyen, Prujean, and Cook’s winning design, “Aftershock” prevailed over 76 other submissions in the “Festival of Landscape Architecture: This Public Life” student competition. “Aftershock” proposed a web of disaster-resilient parks, providing safe havens to meet, play and interact with nature, while also acting as a disaster relief zone for the Te Aro region.
Some of the key questions that emerged at the “This Public Life” conference included: “Can prioritising everyday experience above utility increase empathy and our connection with each other and our environments? Can landscape incrementally change the way we think and behave, to generate hybridised resilient cities that are both ecological and sociological?”
As their response to these provocative questions, Nguyen, Prujean and Cook describe their vision in vivid terms: “Aftershock is a means of endurance and survival. We propose to shape an atmosphere of familiarity with a network of spaces to create a better sense of calm in the case of disturbance.”
Nguyen, a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, reflects, “I wouldn't have been able to achieve it without the resources, knowledge, and experience from Penn State's landscape architecture program. Also, being in an unfamiliar environment with new faces and new professors encouraged me to work hard to mold a good project.”