Dunwoody makes debut in BWBR Prize competition, student Celina Nelson wins prize

Dunwoody Architecture students enter their semester final projects at 2017 BWBR competition.

Six Dunwoody Architecture students participated in the 2017 BWBR Prize for the first time last month, each leaving the competition with real-world experience, improved final projects, and some extra cash.

Celina Nelson took home one of the competition’s first-place prizes and a $1,500 check, while the remaining Dunwoody contestants received $250 for participating.

Dunwoody Architecture Student Celina Nelson

Dunwoody Architecture Student Celina Nelson

“I feel a new sense of confidence that I haven’t had before,” said Nelson.

Dunwoody eligible to compete in BWBR Prize for the first time

St. Paul architecture firm BWBR hosts the competition each year as a way for architecture and interior design students entering their final year of schooling to meet, network, and prepare for their careers.

Nelson's final, sketched site plan

Nelson’s final sketched site plan

With Dunwoody Architecture’s first cohort set to graduate next year, this was the very first year Dunwoody has been eligible to compete in the annual event.

“I was nervous [to compete], because this would be the first time that our final presentation would be for a prize, and not a grade,” Nelson said. “The stakes were definitely high.”

Each participating college was judged separately at the event, with students typically competing with projects or finals they had already created for school. Students presented their projects to a panel of BWBR employees who then critiqued them on their designs, presentation, and public speaking skills.

Students present to BWBR employees
Exterior rendering of the front side of the house

Exterior rendering of the front side of the house

Dunwoody student submissions consisted of their final projects for an Architecture Studio class. This was one of the first classes where students had the freedom to create their own client as well as independently design a building from start to finish.

Nelson—whose project was a single-family residential home—said the entire process provided her with a new way of thinking and working.

“It was nice to create the parameters of the client first and then design for the client,” Nelson said. “Instead of just being willy nilly like, ‘I want a fireplace here’, ‘I want a door here.’

Interior rendering of the kitchen/dining area

Interior rendering of the kitchen/dining area

“Because when you have a real client, you have to have empathy and have to understand where they’re coming from and design for them, not for yourself. That was a really important lesson that I took away from this: learning how to say ‘their house’, ‘they wanted this’, instead of ‘I wanted this.’”

The first round of Architecture graduates are set to graduate in May of 2018.

Learn more about Dunwoody Architecture.