Winners are Announced for FIU Emerging Architects Initiative Rooftop Competition


The School of Architecture at FIU seeks to enhance design innovation and encourage a culture of creativity for our community. The FIU Emerging Architects Initiative is a program that provides architects who have graduated within 15 years from an architecture school an opportunity to design and build an innovative installation at the Paul L. Cejas School of Architecture building – designed by Bernard Tschumi – at the FIU Modesto A. Maidique Campus in Miami. This initiative is supported by generous donations from Adam Bierman as Trustee for the Joselow Foundation and Dean Brian Schriner of The College of Architecture + the Arts.

The winners of the Rooftop Competition are two Assistant Professors from The University of Texas School of Architecture, Kory Bieg (OTA+) and Clay Odom (studioMODO).

The Rooftop Competitoin challenged competition entrants to design and build a temporary outdoor installation that provides shade for events and student use on the third-floor terrace of the Paul L. Cejas School of Architecture building. Projects were expected to inspire creativity and innovation at its highest level and reflect an ethical spirit of making with an attention to craft. The project also had to withstand Miami’s weather from January through May, be demountable and quickly installed at other locations, and be built by January 2016.

Bieg and Odom’s winning project is a canopy called “Lumifoil.” The project was selected by a jury of five members:

Eric Goldemberg (FIU Department of Architecture)

Roberto Rovira (FIU Department of Landscape Architecture + Environmental and Urban Design)

Philip Abbott (FIU Department of Interior Architecture)

Alastair Gordon ( FIU College of Architecture + The Arts Dean’s Distinguished Fellow)

Gavin McKenzie (McKenzie Construction)

The jury notes concerning Bieg and Odom’s “Lumifoil” read:

The five-person jury was unanimous in its decision to choose “Lumifoil.” The jury felt strongly that their project activated the space the best. The wave-like forms not only challenge the existing architecture (by Bernard Tschumi), but enhance and expand it by breaking away from the box-like deck and rising above the roofline to signal a sense of “spectacle” to the surrounding campus environment. Bieg & Odom’s presentation was clear and elegantly rendered with a well-reasoned critical narrative that evolved, in part, out of Tschumi’s own architectural theories. “Lumifoil” was also the least static and seemed to be the most adaptable solution for social interaction and student participation: multi-media projections, presentations, exhibitions, parties, etc. The multifaceted surface, plywood fins and metal ribs create a kind of parametric warping and twisting of perspective that will, no doubt, make for a spatially engaging sequence of discovery while providing shading from the sun, fluid circulation and a non-Euclidean division of event space. While there were concerns voiced by the jury regarding cost, material and fabrication of the structure – what kind of shade fabric/scrim; what kind of plywood to withstand weather; what kind of sealant; what kind of anchoring devices on existing building; plus environmental concerns regarding plastic netting; and cost of milling, prefabrication, shipping – these were overridden by the overall excellence of the presentation, and none seemed beyond practical resolution. (The principle designers have already been contacted and will be addressing these concerns in the immediate future.)

LUMIFOIL_Bieg_Odom_FIU Rooftop Canopy-10
“Lumifoil” by Assistant Professors from The University of Texas School of Architecture Kory Bieg (OTA+) and Clay Odom (studioMODO)
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