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SCAD Photo1-2018-04-05

TEMPE, Ariz. –
Some kids ask their parents for new toys.

Others may request a new tablet or video game system.

When Camille Gbaguidi of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) was growing up, she had something else in mind.

“When I was a child, I always asked for saws and building tools to create things,” said the senior women’s tennis player. “My parents are both architects. When we’d go on vacation, we wouldn’t go to the beach, but we’d go to museums and look at the art, or just buildings in general.”

Gbaguidi’s curiosity and gravitation towards creativity and design led her to enroll at SCAD.

When she’s not excelling on the tennis courts (Gbaguidi is a two-time NAIA and ITA Oracle Cup champion 2016-17 and finished 2016-17 as the No. 1-ranked women’s singles player in the NAIA national rankings), she’s teaming up with other SCAD students – including men’s tennis player Mateo Fernandez – to take part in a global architectural competition.

Established in 2006, the annual eVolo Skyscraper Competition is one of the world’s most prestigious awards for high-rise architecture. It recognizes outstanding ideas that redefine skyscraper design through the implementation of novel technologies, materials, programs, aesthetics and spatial organizations along with studies of globalization, flexibility, adaptability and the digital revolution.

There were no restrictions in regard to site, program or size. Competitors were asked to envision what a skyscraper is in the 21st century? What are the historical, contextual, social, urban and environments responsibilities for these mega-structures? Advances in technology, exploration of sustainable systems, new urban and architectural methods to solve economic, social and cultural problems of the contemporary city, including the scarcity of natural resources and infrastructure and the exponential increase of inhabitants, pollution, economic division and unplanned urban sprawl.

SCAD Photo2-2018-04-05

The SCAD team’s project looked at creating a temporary solution to forced mass migration, caused either through civil war, natural catastrophes or similar events that force the population to escape, while providing a central hub where everyone travels back to and new relationships and ecosystems are formed.

“Mateo and I decided this was something we wanted to do after hearing about seniors entering the competition last year,” said Gbaguidi. “We have a student club at SCAD that’s a relaxed club, but good to find people to collaborate with. We put our group together and started to brainstorm. The brief was so broad, we narrowed down to aspects that were most interesting and then narrowed down each bullet point.

“When we look at a topic liked forced migration, how do we solve it? I’m from Berlin and Mateo is from Ecuador. We have different ideas, which was great to hear different viewpoints and then find a way to have them all make sense in the scope of the project. It was really cool to see how well we worked together.”

For Fernandez, a junior, working on the project reinforced his long-term vision of applying his skills learned at SCAD back in his home country.

“I was born and raised in Ecuador, and architecture there is not as prominent as in other countries,” he said. “I’m in the U.S. now, trying to soak up all the information I can, try and pursue my master’s and then would love to go back and implement what I know. If people keep leaving Ecuador and going abroad, the situation doesn’t get better, so we have to go back and help. It inspires me to keep going forward and figure out ways to help.”

The eVolo Skyscraper Competition will announce this year's winners later this month.