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2014 Sustainable Versatility Awards Announced

SVA Design Award LogoNELMA is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Sustainable Versatility Design Awards (SVDA), the annual competition for design and architects students sponsored by the Association.  Renamed the Rich Quitadamo Sustainable Versatility Award in honor of a deceased NELMA member that played a huge role in the Competition’s development, this is the third year for this annual event.  The announcement for the 2014 was expanded to reach every major architect and design school in the country.  Final judging included 14 projects out of 42 total student registrations, using the design challenge criteria of “Incorporate the use of Eastern White Pine into a light commercial construction project set in an urban environment.” The winners are:

1st Place: Jun Guo of the Illinois Institute of Technology – “Shelter House in Grant Park, Chicago.”

Ms. Guo’s project suggested the construction of multipleshelter1 shelter houses with the bustling Grant Park along Chicago’s Lake Michigan shore.  The structures were designed not only as shelter for all seasons for the park’s visitors but incorporated food stands, public restrooms, and ample seating.  Each house incorporated Eastern White Pine as construction beams, shading frames, flooring, and as seating.  Ms. Guo also stated in her final report that Eastern White Pine was a natural choice given its lighter color, grain texture, and added elements of harmony with the park’s surrounding trees.

2nd Place: Sam Kuhn of the University of South Florida – “Tesla Showroom – Miami”

The remake of the Shopping District of Midtown Miami was the chosen setting for Mr. Kuhn’s project, specifically a showroomtesla1-300x171 and regional offices to house Tesla Motors.  Opting for a highly-visible, open design to attract the area’s high foot traffic, the project incorporated Eastern White Pine with polished white concrete, aluminum, and stainless steel.  Mr. Kuhn explained that the light, soft, warm, and organic qualities of Eastern White Pine are contrasted nicely against the use of heavy, hard, and cool qualities of the other materials utilized.  The project also included the design of an exterior wood “Waving Wall” to add interest to the commercial building.

3rd Place: Nicole Schwarz of the University of Kansas – “Community Center Building”

Ms. Schwarz developed the Competition’s design criteria into the creation of a community center building specifically for use bycommunity center forest a student housing community, serving as a social gathering space, meetings, parties and other recreational activities.  The structure featured three interconnected, transitional zones for specific purposes, where the relationship between function, spatial organization, and building materials were main considerations in the final design.  Eastern White Pine is included throughout as flooring, interior louvers, and as exterior screens.  Ms. Schwarz stated that her concept’s design intention was to allow an individual to experience the natural beauty of Eastern White Pine as they walk through the building.

“We are very pleased to see the steady increase in the interest level by both design students and professors of architecture in our SVDA program, stated Jeff Easterling, NELMA President.  “While the winners of the past two competitions have been from colleges located in the northeast, the broad expansion of our announcement to other parts of the U.S. and resulting increase in registrations strengthen the recognition of Eastern White Pine.  These students that may very well reside, work, or be employed by firms with design projects within our product marketing area at some point in their professional lives.”

For details regarding each of the winning projects for 2014, along with previous winning designs, we invite you to take a look at the Sustainable Versatility Design Award website,


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