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Drury architecture students win regional design competition juried by industry professionals

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., October 30, 2019 — A team of Drury Architecture students won first place in the annual Student Design Competition sponsored by the American Institute of Architects Central States Region. Members of the team included Jenine May, Nia Damgova, Blane Pittman, and Connor Stokes.

“I am ecstatic to have won,” Damgova said. “We could not have achieved this accomplishment without the support of Nancy Chikaraishi, who guided the team through the experience, Robert Weddle, and the rest of the HSA faculty and alumni who supported us.”

Drury students competed against six other schools, including the University of Oklahoma; University of Nebraska – Lincoln; Washington University in St. Louis; Kansas State University and the University of Kansas. The intensive 12-hour competition was based on a site just north of downtown St. Louis, posing a theoretical problem based on a real-life situation. 

The competition began at 7:30 a.m. Students were to design a 45,000-square-foot Mississippi Watershed Research Center building for a site along the Mississippi River. Teams from all of the competing schools visited the site where the Center would be located and were then sent to the offices of different architectural firms in St. Louis to conduct their work. Drury’s team was placed in the office of CannonDesign.

Students were to provide three deliverables: a 30x42-inch board of their design, a 10-slide PowerPoint presentation that explained the design, and one image that best represented their project. All project deliverables had to be submitted by the 8 p.m. deadline. The following morning, the students presented their project solution to the competition jury comprised of four architecture and landscape architecture professionals. Each team was given 15 minutes to present their project and answer questions. The project was then carefully evaluated based on the site’s clear conceptual framework, the building, and overall presentation.

As the winning team, the students received an award of $4,000 to be split by each member, a certificate, and a trophy to display at their school for the remainder of the school year.

“I was so excited for and proud of this team,” said Drury Professor of Architecture Nancy Chikaraishi. “There were probably 250 to 300 professionals from the Central States Region in attendance that night at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis to see first-hand the caliber of our Drury architecture students. It was an amazing event.” 

For more information about the Annual Student Design Competition, visit


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