Laskey Design Challenge

Kyna Leski (center) and students during the Laskey Sophomore Design Challenge. Photo by Stan Strembicki.

Art & Architecture students collaborate during intensive workshop

Posted by Katherine Welsch February 2, 2012

Art and architecture students worked together to replicate small objects at a larger scale as part of the Laskey Sophomore Design Challenge, which took place January 20-22 at the Sam Fox School.

The inaugural event, sponsored by Studio L, was a fresh take on the annual Laskey Award competition, which honors Professor Emeritus Leslie J. Laskey and his singular approach to design education during his 35-year tenure at Washington University. In past years, students worked independently to devise proposals that addressed a design challenge issued by Laskey. This year, all sophomores in the Sam Fox School participated in the intensive, weekend-long collaborative session, working in teams under the supervision of faculty.

Kyna Leski—professor and head of architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design as well as principal of 3SIXØ Architecture in Providence—kicked off the event by delivering a special presentation to introduce the design challenge.

To begin with, each team was asked to select a small object (bigger than a cup but smaller than a torso) that had at least one double curvature—a surface that curves about two opposing axes. Students then employed a variety of materials—such as Vaseline, gesso, paint brushes, rubber-cement, paper, masking tape, white glue, and tracing paper—to create a second skin with enough material integrity to hold together when it was eventually removed.

After removing the object's second skin, students recreated the pattern at a larger scale and transferred it to felt in order to rebuild the object. Students were asked to pay particular attention to how they joined the felt by stitching, fastening, or gluing auxiliary joints.

At the culmination of the event, a jury—composed of Leski, associate professors Igor Marjanovic and Cheryl Wassenaar, and alumni Dennis Cope, Angelyn Chandler, and John Kleinschmidt—presented awards.

The first place award of $1,000 went to the team of Eric Zuckerman (Architecture), Ben Zunkeler (Architecture), Anna Darling (Architecture), and Cherise Matthew (Art) for "Felt Detergent."

The team of Grant McCracken (Architecture), Nicole Yen (Art), Weiqian Liu (Architecture), and Martin Lockman (Architecture), who produced "Principa Mathematica," will receive the Book Award, with Laskey himself choosing a publication that will be given to each of the team members.

The following three teams received Honorable Mention recognition, and will be given a publication from the design charrette:

- Elaine Stokes (Architecture), Adam Strobel (Architecture), and Elizabeth Korb (Art) for "Tangerine Peel."
- Allison Balogh (Architecture), Quamesha Brown (Art/Architecture), Jordan Rapp (Architecture), Elliot Petterson (Architecture), and
Esther Hamburger (Art) for "Log."
- Stephanie Silva (Architecture), Sam Stapleton (Architecture), Claudia Frolova (Art), and Madeleine Docherty (Art) for "Rainbow Reproduction."

Student designs are on view in Givens and Bixby Halls January 22-February 4. Visit the Sam Fox School Facebook page to view a gallery of images from the Laskey Design Challenge.