By Adeney Zo
UCLA Luskin Student Writer
A team composed of UCLA Luskin and Architecture students find themselves in the finalist round of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s design competition.
The HUD hosts an annual design and planning competition with the goal of encouraging creativity and interdisciplinary innovation while designing financially affordable housing. Participants in this year’s competition were given the challenge of either renovating or reconstructing a senior housing high-rise built in 1971. The UCLA team opted to rehab the building, adding features such as a rooftop community garden and digital literacy intergenerational programming.
“We offer an innovative design that is socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable. We also wanted a design where people could interact with each other easily, especially among different generations,” Edith Medina Huarita (MPP ‘15) explained. “For example, one of our design features is a space where residents of the retirement community could meet with children from local schools to learn to use computers and other digital media.”
Huarita, who was also part of the first place team in the recent Net Impact Consulting Challenge, found that this competition challenged a different set of skills. “Participating in another competition motivates me and the opportunity to engage with housing experts excites me.” said Huarita. “The differences in the competitions also develop different skills. The HUD design competition challenged my creativity because we developed the project from scratch.”
Come April, team members Laura Krawczyk (MURP ‘15), Edith Medina Huarita (MPP ‘15), Precy Agtarap (MURP ‘15), John Whitcomb, and Luis Ochoa will travel to Washington D.C. to make their final design presentation. The competition jury will then determine the first place team ($20,000 prize) and the runner-up ($10,000 prize).