Portland State University

Portland State University

Portland, OR


PSU Architecture Students Receive 2016 AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Student Design Awards

By PSUArchitecture
Dec 21, '16 6:23 PM EST
"Vanport Necropolis" by Nicolas Pectol. Honor Award recipient at 2016 AIA NW & Pacific Region Student Design Awards
"Vanport Necropolis" by Nicolas Pectol. Honor Award recipient at 2016 AIA NW & Pacific Region Student Design Awards

(PORTLAND, Ore.) 21 December 2016 – The work of six PSU Master of Architecture students was recognized at the 2016 AIA Northwest and Pacific Region Student Design Awards (AIA NW+PR) this fall.

At the November 5 awards ceremony held in Fairbanks, Alaska, Nicolas Pectol (Master of Architecture '16) earned the Honor Award for his "Vanport Necropolis" thesis project. Andrew Matia (B.S. Architecture ’16) was awarded a Citation award for his project, “Weave PDX.” Master of Architecture candidates Janna Ferguson, Peter Heibel, and Alejandra Ruiz received an Honorable Mention for their project "Opportunity Knocks," and Master of Architecture alumnus Matthew Rusnac (’16) received an Honorable Mention for his thesis project, “Dwelling in Wanderlust.”

PSU Architecture students have won honors in the AIA NW+PR Awards every year since their inception.

"Vanport Necropolis," the Master of Architecture thesis of Nicolas Pectol, explores the ways in which architecture responds to rituals of human death. In 1948, the city of Vanport, Ore., to the north of Portland, was destroyed in a catastrophic flood that resulted in the loss of at least 15 individuals and the eradication of the city itself. Pectol designed a funeral procession and burial ritual to honor those who died in the flood and provide them, and their city, a proper burial. Embracing the theme of naval shipbuilding, an industry that played an integral role in the economic and social life of this ethnically diverse community, Pectol’s design incorporates the waters of the nearby Columbia River Slough as well as thematic elements including ferries, canals, locks, scaffolding, steel tracks, casters, and cranes. The result is an imagined sacred ritual and monumental structure to honor and remember this fallen city.

"Weave PDX" was created by architecture major Andrew Matia in a senior design studio, in which Matia took the typical spatial arrangement of alternating alleyways and structures in a city block and redistributed the masses into a woven composition, based on his research into the history of textile production and industry techniques. “The resultant development creates moments of orientation and mystery, aligning itself to the city block but also deviating from moment to moment,” Matia writes about his project.

"Opportunity Knocks" is a proposal for a community of tiny homes constructed from reused dimensional lumber and doors, salvaged from deconstructed, rather than demolished, structures. Janna Ferguson, Peter Heibel, and Alejandra Ruiz designed a modular system using these two materials that can be affordably prefabricated through a partnership with a local architectural salvage center, and using a central community space (in this case, a shuttered elementary school) as a construction site. This concept, which grew out of a Master of Architecture design studio at Portland State University, addressed the construction-waste stream in Portland and included a research trip to Monterrey, Mexico, to learn from Professor Pedro Pacheco at the Instituto Tecnologicol y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM). Pacheco is now spending his sabbatical year working with students in PSU’s Center for Public Interest Design, within the School of Architecture, and is the School’s 2017 Distinguished Visiting Professor.

"Dwelling in Wanderlust: Architecture as a Vessel for Human Stories" was the M.Arch thesis of Matthew Rusnac (’16), in which he asked the question “How can a story-driven architecture—confident in the cosmos—fortify a person’s sense of humanity, identity, and community in an objectifying, disorienting, and isolating age?” His response was rooted in telling the stories of several archetypes and expressing their habitats through word, drawing, and three-dimensional artifacts and models.

About Portland State University (PSU)
Oregon's urban research university, recognized for excellence in sustainability and community engagement, is located in the heart of downtown Portland. PSU's motto is "Let Knowledge Serve the City," and it offers more than 200 degrees with opportunities to work with businesses, schools and organizations on real-world projects.

About the School of Architecture at Portland State University
The School of Architecture’s four-year bachelor’s degree, two-year accredited professional Master of Architecture and three-year track of the Master of Architecture emphasize focused study in architectural design, the humanities, tectonics and the profession, in a rich, design-based curriculum, as they prepare students for a career as a licensed architect. The Master of Architecture program concludes with the completion of a major design thesis study of individually inspired questions concerning architecture, culture and technology. The first of its kind in the United States, the Graduate Certificate in Public Interest Design is now offered through the School of Architecture’s Center for Public Interest Design.


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