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In this year’s AZ Award submissions, design students in the U.S. and Poland caught the jury’s eye with projects that include an inventive baseball field and a concept for a wild water park.

Project: Wiggle Theory

School: Savannah College of Art and Design, U.S.

Team: Mark Hemphill with Christopher Dowell and Sanaz Karbasi

Mark Hemphill dreamed up this wild and whimsical water park to reward an adventurous sense of play, promising to convert riders’ exploration of new ways of moving into enchantment and a calming flow. Propelled by their own muscle power, harness-wearing riders follow a track of bent I-beams that undulates, like a 3-D zipline, along twists and turns that prompt riders to sway their bodies to overcome the path’s resistance before they can soar freely through the downhill portions. This swaying motion triggers feelings of being “in the zone,” similar to such sports as skiing, skateboarding and rollerblading.


Project: Sharon Fields

Location: Sharon, U.S.

School: design/buildLAB, Virginia Tech, U.S.

Team: Keith Zawistowski and Marie Zawistowski with Mary Covert, Luke Dale, Anuja Das, Leah Hodgson, Lauryn Jean, Kevin Lee, Zhuoran Liu, Robert Riggs, Kayla Sloan, Hunter Stephenson, Casey Walker, Sarah Walker and Sophia Xie

Over the years, third-year architecture students at Virginia Tech’s design/buildLAB have
left indelible marks on their community, designing and erecting structures to support local activities. Most recently, they brought their game to the Little League baseball teams of Clifton Forge, Virginia.

The students worked as a team, using off-the-shelf materials to construct 12 playing-field structures for two baseball fields, including back stops, score boards and field equipment storage. Larger structures – including two periscope-like press boxes and four dugouts backed with breeze-friendly louvered walls – were fabricated on campus, then craned into place. The complex puts function first, but its form boasts a flair Frank Gehry would envy.


Project: Aéreo

Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

School: Harvard University, U.S.

Team: Caio Barboza and Sofia Blanco Santos

Equal parts disco ball, beach-spanning parasol, solar-energy collector and nightlight, this massive floating orb proposes a futuristic landmark for the rocky point where Rio de Janeiro’s legendary Copacabana and Ipanema beaches meet. Like a low-orbiting planet made of two Mylar balloons – one small and helium-filled, nested inside a larger one filled with hot air – this multi-purpose addition to Zona Sul’s local solar system would provide beachgoers with a roving patch of shade to take the edge off the midday sun. At night, Aéreo would use energy collected from adhesive solar panels to illuminate Ipanema’s lampposts, as well as its own surface.


Project: S’lowtecture Housing Structure

School: Wrocław University of Science and Technology, Poland

Team: Tomasz Broma

What if our houses grew with us? To answer this question, Tomasz Broma of Poland conceived a slow-life manifesto founded on architecture that can be built, dismantled and reconfigured by its inhabitants, following a set of six straightforward rules. The scheme accommodates mistakes and changes, charting a creative process for bootstrapping a commune in stages, with the end result a seven-storey village on stilts. Broma’s rules determine the size and position of cubic modules within the complex, giving each household equal access to amenities; ground-floor common areas would include the workshops and tools for future residents to prep their building materials.

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