The James E. Gui '54 Design Competition was established in 1996 through gifts from James E. Gui (B Arch 1954). Knowlton School of Architecture students take two quarters of their senior year to develop a design project in competition with fellow classmates.
The fourth year of the undergraduate program synthesizes the previous years' investigations of form, technique, materiality, and organization. Studios are advanced studies in contemporary architectural production and are supported by architecture seminars and university electives. Design projects are extra-large in scale, with hybrid programs on sites that straddle landscape and urbanism.
The first quarter project is an extended investigation of housing with additional amenities on an exurban site. The second quarter features the Gui Competition, which entails an institutional program on an urban site. During the final quarter, students may join vertical studios, the Italy Study Abroad Program, or pursue an independent honors project.
"The way in which the project's site is located amongst academic, artistic, historical, and residential districts and a large, natural park directed the intention to design and explore the idea of connection. This design draws from the possibility to provide connections amongst all of these conditions to allow for cohesive travel on and through the site. The site also provides a natural east to west slope that influences the stepped massing design of the architecture to maintain cohesive connections and pathways across the site. This stepping provides the opportunity to create both public and provide conditions that extend across and connect the multiple elevations across the site and in the architecture. Public and private conditions respond to the program's massing. In the areas of research and lab facilities, private research gardens provide connections amongst and between the different labs and facilities. In public conditions, areas that provide travel on and across the site, connections were created amongst the surrounding districts through public pathways, courtyards and plazas. Drawings from the possibility of connection and the natural landscape of the site it allows for connections to become the major influential detail of this design project. Through the stepping and shifting of both the site and the architecture connections are able to be created in both private and public conditions." -- Chad Haponek