Architecture crowns Kossman Design Thesis Award winner

UNIVERSTY PARK, Pa. — Stuckeman School architecture student Danielle Oriol was named the winner of the 2021 Paul M. Kossman Senior Design Award in Architecture for her thesis which examines the issue of homelessness as a “housing problem and a violation of fundamental rights … and not as an inevitable social problem resulting from personal issues.”

“I aim to destigmatize homelessness using architecture and promote healing not only by encouraging autonomy, but also through active involvement with communities. To do so, I’ve asked the people I aim to help for their own assistance,” explained Oriol.

According to the project statement in Oriol’s “To Dwell: Moratorium on homeless,” her project utilizes data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, organizations – such as Picture the Homeless – and input from homeless citizens to dissect what the unhoused actually need in a home and how solutions could be beneficial to them.

“Danielle’s proposition calls for an end to the situation of being without a home and puts that charge squarely in the hands of architects to shape the city through the design and expansion of meaningful infrastructure, public space and housing for the full range of life’s circumstances,” said Darla Lindberg, professor of architecture and the undergraduate thesis coordinator in architecture.

The annual Kossman Design Thesis Award, as it has become known, is presented to the most deserving fifth-year student in the professional bachelor of architecture program for excellence in design based on their senior thesis, as recommended by the faculty and the jury to the head of the Department of Architecture.

“To have won this competition is an honor, but to realize that my research and ideas resonate with others is the best part,” said Oriol, who is from Hempstead, Long Island, New York.

Sarah Felter and Michael Hafer earned honorable mention honors in the competition, which caps off the Stuckeman School’s spring final reviews. The results of the competition were announced during the Department of Architecture’s annual awards ceremony on May 2 via Zoom.

The jury for this year’s competition was comprised of Hilary Sample, the IDC Professor of Housing Design and sequence director of the Core Architecture Studios at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and co-founder of the New York-based architecture and design studio MOS; Alicia Imperiale, visiting associate professor of history and theory at the Pratt Institute and a critic at the Yale University School of Architecture; and Bradford Watson, a 2000 Penn State architecture alumnus who is now an associate professor of architecture at Montana State University.

The Kossman design thesis competition, named for 1949 Penn State architectural engineering alumnus Paul Kossman, began in 1990 and has since become a coveted award among fifth-year architecture students.

For more Stuckeman School news, follow us on Twitter @StuckemanNews.