Skip to content

UW Student Chapter Competes in 2023’s NOMA National Conference

Congratulations to our University of Washington National Organization of Minority Architects student chapter (NOMAS UW) who represented the College of Built Environments and the Department of Architecture at 2023’s NOMA National Conference. They participated in this year’s Barbara G. Laurie Student Design Competition, one of the highlights of the conference held in October in Portland.

NOMAS UW’s competition entry was among 39 submissions. Their 30-student team was one of the largest teams ever to participate in NOMA history and the largest student group in attendance at the conference, which is particularly impressive given the chapter had been underway in only its first six months of official charter. Judges stated that NOMAS UW’s entry was “exceptionally developed and provocative”. The student experience as a whole can be characterized by comments from NOMAS UW secretary Eunice Chen that, “We felt empowered to be in a space with other people who had the same passion in architecture and the commitment of doing better for the community and its people. We were very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work on a real-world prompt that confronted serious socio-economic and cultural issues.”

The students were organized by NOMAS UW Chapter Adviser Matt Fujimoto, UW Department of Architecture PT Lecturer and graduate of the UW Bachelor of Arts Architecture program, assisting NOMAS UW through around forty 4-hour work sessions over the summer. Students performed a studio-style progression of design exercises, accrued licensure hours through the Architectural Experience Program, organized excursions to Portland to perform research, and led their own innovative fundraising efforts to support all incurred expenses from their research activities and from their attendance at the conference. They received generous funding from Bassetti Architects, Board & Vellum, Designs Northwest Architects, EHDD Architecture, Fraser + Fogle Architects, Johnston Architects, The Miller Hull Partnership, Paul Michael Davis Architects, Schemata Workshop, SHKS Architects, Studio Meng Strazzara, the Office of the Dean, and the Department of Architecture Professionals Advisory Council Endowment Fund. NOMAS UW thanks its funding supporters, the Landscape Architecture department for generously providing NOMAS UW use of their facilities over the summer, and NOMAS UW’s hosts during the summer’s excursions – Meyer Memorial Trust with representatives from Lever Architecture, Justice Oregon for Black Lives, and the U.S. Green Building Council, the Oregon Historical Society Research Library, and Dr. Karen J. Gibson.

The competition prompt challenged our teams to design a cohesive site that could encompass mixed-income housing, commercial/retail tenants, and community spaces with an emphasis on providing a solution that simultaneously sustains and grows the community. Teams were directed to articulate comprehensive strategies to restore Albina’s identity and foster diplomacy between Legacy Emanuel Medical Center and the community. Teams were required to have an overall site plan and strategy that addressed the following program components: 30,000 SF of Business Incubator and Workforce Training, 10,000 SF of Retail, 10,000 SF Community Space, 20 Affordable For-sale Homes, and 100 Affordable Rental Housing Units.

The competition’s required deliverables included presentation slides, a physical model, and a 1-minute video which accompanied a verbal presentation from two team members. Austin Bass and Jerry Chen represented NOMAS UW, presenting the following slides.

The Portland Albina Community continues to steward its vision of its future. Please support their efforts.

NOMAS UW directs those seeking more detail to view a video on instagram that offers highlights of their work. NOMAS UW celebrates that Dana Austin Bass was awarded 2023’s National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS) Student Member of the Year – awarded by NOMA professionals across the country and liaisons working with the NOMA Board who identify emerging talent in their student chapters – NOMA 2023 PDX Conference Wrap Up. More information regarding our mission and history can be found at About NOMA.

Lastly, NOMAS UW has been awarded the AIA Seattle 2023 Allied Organization Award in recognition of our contribution to goals shared by AIA Seattle.