Avante: The USC Safad Annual Design Awards 2022 (1st of 2 parts)

·3 min read

An end marks new beginnings. In the academic calendars of universities, a “commencement exercise” signifies the start of a new life in the real world for a graduate rather than emphasizing on the culmination of his learning. For undergraduates, it is a time to recharge from the academic load in time for another school year ahead. As one embarks on new beginnings, he begins to move forward to something better armed with new-found learnings.

Moving forward became the focus of this year’s annual Design Awards and Exhibit of the University of San Carlos School of Architecture, Fine Arts and Design (USC Safad). Bearing the theme “Avante,” it continues its showcase of student excellence, albeit on the virtual platform for the second consecutive year. The school year-ender recognizes the student achievers from the various academic programs of USC Safad such as architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, advertising arts, fashion design, painting and cinema.

Miniature Pavilions. Having yet to experience an in-person Safad Design Exhibit, the architecture freshmen were tasked to conceptualize a pavilion that would serve as a venue for such an event. After some research and talking with mentors and schoolmates, who had firsthand experiences of such events, they came up with schemes taking full consideration of the typical activities done inside.

Collaboration was the key concept behind this year’s gold awardee for the first year Architectural Design classes. Prolific student and student leader, Iolo Keon Villegas, said that working together ensures the best possible output and is clearly manifested in his pavilion design.

“Each cantilevered plane represents architects, interior designers, and landscape architects. The design of the pavilion appears as if the planes are resting on each other for support, giving the impression that the absence of one will cause the entire structure to topple—just like how the absence of one of the built environment professions will have a great negative effect on society,” explained Keon, “each and every one of us designers are equally important and we each contribute something unique to help build and improve our community.”

A cardboard model of interlocking irregularly-cut pieces by a popular French designer became the main inspiration for the work of silver awardee Mary Bernadette Ramirez. Karl Nawrot’s sculpture fitted perfectly to her concept of interlinking “ideas” showcased in the pavilion. Even with a foreign-inspired concept, Madeth likes to incorporate “innovative details and distinctly Filipino touch.”

“Receiving this award at the end of the school year makes the whole experience so rewarding and motivates me to keep moving forward,” said the former high school scholar, who admitted to having doubts about her taking up architecture.

Overwhelming joy is echoed by bronze awardee Kate Wrina Barcenas on finishing among the top three designers of their batch. Her pavilion, dubbed “Onyx,” went deeper into the mind of the designer in order to “curate a work of art.”

“The complexity of the design gives a glimpse of how the human mind works to be able to incorporate the alluring, confusing and arduous elements. The gemstone signifies an unknown power just like how the mind is able to create countless possibilities for creation, emotions and ideas,” said Kate about her work.

The scaled models of these students show the creativity and hard work that they had to go through to articulate their design ideas into something tangible. It also is a product of enjoyment in doing these models, something these design awardees share. True enough, work becomes less tedious when you are having fun accomplishing it. This will serve as an important motivation for their fellow future architects in always exerting their best in everything that they do.

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