Student team led by Daniel Baerlecken wins major prize

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In mid-May 2013 an international design team composed of architecture students from the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Peter Behrens School of Architecture [Germany], and RWTH Aachen University [Germany] in cooperation with the architecture magazine AIT, competed for and won one of four available equally endowed awards granted by the STO Foundation for innovation in sustainability and energetically responsible construction. The competition was initiated to promote awareness of eco-friendly and social design solutions, a goal of the STO Foundation ( More than 40 designs were submitted. Awards were given to the top four most innovative concepts of internationally oriented projects in architectural education that focus on resource conservation, regional building culture and/or sustainability.

This team of international students proposed a concept for a children's and youth theater in the South African township of Langa, the oldest township of Cape Town. The proposed site currently exists as the Guga S'Thebe cultural center, which was built after the end of apartheid in the 1990s. It attracts local children, young people, and artists, as well as international tourists. For the Langa residents this proposed theater, which they call “Guga S'Thebe,” is a unique opportunity for the community to attract and share cultural art experiences. The main focus of the Cultural Center has been to work with children and young adults, exposing them to the cultural arts by supporting local teachers and artists. To enhance the functionality of the Cultural Center, students designed a much-needed multi-functional space for different types of dance, music and theater activities. This winning proposal not only expands the functionality of the existing cultural center, but also integrates different types of participatory design and social integration, while promoting the use of recycled and indigenous materials.

The prize money will support the realization of this project with construction starting this summer [2013]. The aim is for these students, along with local artists and the population of Langa, to collaborate in the construction process as part of the World Design Capital 2014 event.

Georgia Tech students: David Baxter, Katelyn Bouret, Christine Cangelosi, William Collar, Sara Damiani, Brittney Davis, David Duncan, Lisa Goubeaux, Meredith James, Ashwin Kamath, and Austin Wright.

Studio Instructor: Assistant Professor Daniel Baerlecken


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    Lucie André
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    Fletcher Moore
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