Third-year architecture student wins 2023 Corbelletti Design Charrette. Abigail Wallar, who's studying for a Master's degree in Architecture at Penn State's College of Arts and Architecture, won the award after beating several students.
Lots of students submitted their design ideas using different things like paint, pencils, and computer images. But Abigail did something really cool - she used threads and fabric to create her winning design.
"I wanted to dive into how embroidery can be used to represent architecture and literally stitch the fabric of the city together," Wallar, from Zeeland, Michigan, said.
This year, Professor Frank Jacobus, who is now the head of the Department of Architecture at the school, served as the guest architect for the competition. He worked alongside the jury members for this year, which included architecture faculty members Brian Peterka, Orsolya Gáspár, and Istvan Gyulovics, to evaluate the submissions.
"This is a week of celebration, really," Jacobus said at the introduction of the winner announcement on Aug. 25.
The first week of classes was filled with various events that laid the foundation for the competition. These included the Corbelletti Competition Introduction held on Monday, August 21, and a lecture by Jacobus on Wednesday, August 23.
During Jacobus' lecture, he presented the students with a unique challenge: "Construct an imaginary city using a piece of music you enjoy." The students then used this prompt as the starting point for their design submissions.
I’ve been interested in the relationship between music and architecture for a long time, it was one of those things that seemed like it could be a chance for students to invest in thinking abstractly. To me, that’s a big, important part of their education for them to learn how to do.- Professor Frank Jacobus
The official logo of Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Wallar's winning submission was inspired by the French song "Clair de lune, L. 32" composed by Claude Debussy and performed by Martin Jones.
The song, to me, feels very delicate and almost fragile, but it has these very expressive moments. It's a very colorful song in my mind.- Abigail Wallar
The students had to submit their designs by 5 p.m. on Thursday, August 24th. The jury members then made their announcement the following day at 1:30 p.m. in the Stuckeman Family Building Jury Space. The room was filled with students, faculty, and staff eagerly awaiting the results, where they named one winner and recognized six honorable mentions.
"My hope for the students is that this opens up their ability to engage with the world through the use of metaphor," Jacobus said.
During the announcement, Jacobus and the jury members unveiled the honorable mentions one by one before finally revealing Wallar's design as the winner. They engaged in a discussion, analyzing various aspects of the selected designs, including their use of color, artistic medium, connection to the music, and levels of abstraction. Jacobus expressed his appreciation for the "diversity of work" evident in all the submitted designs.
"The proposals ran the gambit: there was anything from the literal - it looked like a city - to it looks like a series of points and lines," he said.
Honorable mentions were awarded to a group of talented students including Andrew Ferreri (fifth year, Bachelor of Architecture program), Alyssa Penrod (fifth year, Bachelor of Architecture program), Michael Overdorff (fifth year, Bachelor of Architecture program), Madison Houck (fifth year, Bachelor of Architecture degree), John Martin (fifth year, Bachelor of Architecture program), and Tariq Kenanah (third year, Master of Architecture program).
"It was a really fantastic prompt," Wallar said. "It was a really inspiring and open-ended prompt; that’s why I felt like I could be bold."
The Corbelletti Design Charette, named in honor of former Department of Architecture head Raniero Corbelletti, kicks off the start of the fall semester and serves as the inauguration of a new academic year for advanced architecture students.
"[The competition is] important as an acknowledgment of who [Corbelletti] was," Jacobus said.
The Corbelletti Competition welcomes participation from architecture students starting from their second year and beyond. To explore previous winning entries, you can access the Corbelletti Digital Archives or visit the Stuckeman Family Building's first floor on the University Park campus to view the submissions in person.