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Recent UT Architecture Graduates Receive International Attention for Design Work

Mar 27, '12 11:07 AM EST

KNOXVILLE -- Recent graduates of the School of Architecture at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Caitlin Turski and Andrew Ruff (2011) received an honorable mention in the international call to design the AIDS Memorial Park in New York City. The pair, who recently founded the studio, NT21, competed against architects and planners from around the world.

The competition, in conjunction with Architizer and Architectural Record, was chaired by Michael Arad, the designer of the National September 11 Memorial. Its jurors, who included the chief curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art and the deputy editor for Architectural Record, selected the winning design, three runners-up, and 11 honorable mentions.

There were 475 entries submitted from across 26 U.S. states and 32 countries.

“We feel that our experience at the UT CoAD was the critical factor,” said Andrew Ruff. “Our professors, especially those who challenged us to discover our own artistic consciences, played a particularly special role in our development as designers.”

The competition’s goal was to produce design ideas for a memorial park to honor New York City’s 100,000-plus men, women and children who have died from AIDS. It hopes to also recognize the ongoing crisis.

Entries were evaluated based upon the proposed park’s functionality as a recreational space and its commemorative narrative.

“Our transition from the intensity of the academic studio into the realm of architectural speculation has been a natural evolution of our interests and modus operandi," said Ruff and Turski, jointly, of their preparation as designers. “The culture of our studio, in addition to close relationships developed with a wide range of faculty, created an incredible environment of experimental design and rigorous research.”

The duo also recently claimed first prize in the alumni segment of the MAX_minimum Design Competition held annually by the UT College of Architecture and Design. Their work won over projects submitted by alumni from graduating classes ranging from 1978 to 2011.

Ruff received the Henry Adams American Institute of Architects Medal in 2011, an honor granted by AIA to the top ranking graduating students in each architecture program nationwide. Turski claimed the Certificate of Merit, tying as the second highest ranking student of the 2011 graduating class.

In addition to their design pursuits with NT21, Turski is presently pursuing a post-professional Master of Architecture at McGill University, with Ruff working as an intern architect in Atlanta at the large, international firm TVSDesign.


To learn more about the AIDS Memorial Design Competition, please visit

Turksi and Ruff’s entry may be seen above, or at their website, 


C O N T A C T :

Image Rights: Andrew Ruff and Caitlin Turski

Kiki Roeder (865-974-6713 or


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