April 8th marked the end of 2010 Urban Land Institute (ULI) Gerald Hines Student Urban Design Competition in San Diego, California. Members from the Real Estate Club, Macy Leung and Ignacio Correa, along with Harvard GSD students Fai Au, Phyllis Xue Zhou, and HBS student Shane Campbell, competed in the ULI national finalists competition against students from the University of Pennsylvania, University of Maryland, and North Carolina State University/University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (this year’s winning team) for the national title and $50,000.
The competition began in January, with an initial phase of two weeks. While some schools, like Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania, originally had 10-20 individual team entries submitted from each school, other schools, such as University of Maryland, chose only one team for the competition. There were a total of 137 teams, and after advancing to the finalists stage, the final four had to competed in an oral presentation in San Diego on April 7th and April 8th.
Harvard’s proposal for this year’s competition is titled “Celebration of Arts”, which consists of a mixed-use residential/retail development, a central art galleria, a man-made canal, and art-themed parks throughout the site. The 73 acre redevelopment scheme aims to celebrate the North end of a trolley station on the site, Park Boulevard and Broadway Street, and provide linkage from nearby parks and neighborhoods to the waterfront. In addition, the proposal aims to revitalize the neighborhood and use it as a catalytic development to influence the rest of the San Diego region.
Macy Man-Sai Leung (Team Leader – Architecture/Economics/Urban Design); Ignacio Correa (Urban Design/Masterplanning/Real Estate); Fai Au (Architecture/Technology); Phyllis Xue Zhou (Landscape Architecture/Arts); Shane Campbell (MBA/Engineering).
Official Team Advisors:
Professor Richard Peiser (Michael D. Spear Professor of Real Estate and Development at Harvard University Graduate School of Design); Brian Canin (Principal of Canin Associates)
We received news in February that our team had advanced to the finalist stage, and we had one month to further develop our original scheme in addition to revising the proforma. We had to submit four additional boards in addition to the original six, and prepare a business plan and a powerpoint presentation. We worked feverishly together despite everyone’s busy schedule, up until the final hours before we flew out to San Diego for our presentation.
Our team arrived in San Diego on the morning of April 7th – everyone was working on the presentation speech/business plan/graphics on the airplane, then we immediately went to Hotel Indigo for a mock presentation. Undaunted by the lack of sleep and time zone change, our team practiced a few more times in the hotel room, re-wrote our speeches, and handled some last-minute printing in San Diego (UPenn/Maryland also printed on site) before joining the rest of our competitors for dinner at the hotel terrace.
On the day of the presentation, each team had to draw to determine the order of presentation at the Museum of Contemporary Arts. Our team met at 6:00am in our hotel room to do another practice presentation before venturing to the presentation site. North Carolina went first, followed by Maryland, then Harvard and UPenn last. With two hours in between breakfast and our presentation, our team ventured to the nearby outdoor plaza to practice two more times, before some of us got coffee/took power naps from the lack of sleep in the past few days. Needless to say, everyone did a great job and gave an excellent presentation to the jury and audience. We were allotted 25 minutes to present, and 20 minutes for QandA. I opened with the introduction and concepts, followed by Ignacio detailing the masterplan, Fai with the architectural typology, Phyllis with landscape, and Shane with the numbers. Our presentation was very well received, and we walked away with a sense of relief, feeling a job well done, and waited anxiously for the result.