Community Design Center Receives Award for Conway Plan

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Community Design Center

The Community Design Center, which is an outreach center of the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, received the Green Good Design Award for its plan to implement cleaner water into Conway.

The UA Community Design Center has been awarded a 2017 Green Good Design Award in Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture for the center’s framework plan for the city of Conway.

The Urban Watershed Framework Plan focuses on the overlaps of city and water to create a landscape where they cooperate with one another.

The project was mainly about the relationship of implementing cleaner water measures in a city without dramatically changing the functionality of an urban city, said Maranda Gerga, a senior in the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design.

The project entailed building models, drawing diagrams for the design process and putting together a project report, Gerga said.

The plan imagines “a cityscape that cultivates a highly livable green urban environment made through low-tech/high concept enhancements to ordinary infrastructure investments already scheduled to service the city’s growth,” according to the proposal.

It plans to create this cityscape by adding infrastructures such as green streets, water treatment art parks, urban eco-farms, conservation neighborhoods, parking gardens, riparian corridor improvements, lake aerators, vegetative harvesters and floating bio-mats and a city greenway. Riparian corridors are the ecosystems associated with bodies of water. Lake aerators perforate small holes to allow better flow of oxygen to help the fish. Vegetative harvesters are machines that collect and unload vegetation and debris.

While Gerga did not personally choose the project, she said she believes in the project’s goal of a future that encompasses the needs of the people and the need for infrastructure and transportation in a clean-water environment.

“Getting to work on projects at the Community Design Center as a student is an amazing opportunity,” Gerga said.  “Everyone is open to hearing all opinions, including the interns’, which is a great experience for me.”

The award was founded in 1950 and is given to individuals or organizations for a design based upon the ideals of energy conservation, according to its website.

The Green Good Design Award is an annual national competition in which the participants submit a project for consideration and a jury of other designers judge them based on criteria generally associated with innovation, sustainability within the design process and linking the urban environment with the natural environment.

This is just one of many awards the Community Design Center, which is an outreach center of the Fay Jones School of Architecture, has received, said Marty D. Matlock, the executive director of the Office for Sustainability who served as the project designer for the Urban Watershed Framework Plan.

The Community Design Center has a full-time design and planning staff. The staff members work with communities and organizations throughout the nation, according to the Community Design Center website.

The UA design center is one of the most nationally recognized and awarded community design centers,” Matlock said. “They’re the leaders in the nation for this sort of work. So this is yet another in a series of successful projects of national and international recognized projects.”

This award will add to the prestige of the architecture school and the Community Design Center, Matlock said.

“It is revalidating the nature of their work and their collaborations across disciplines on campus to solve fairly complex problems,” Matlock said.

Gerga said awards like these show that the UofA and its students are doing serious work, and it brings the architecture department more exposure.  

“The more people see the work, the more people will understand and might want to get involved with projects or even hire students after graduation,” Gerga said.   

In addition to winning a 2017 Green Good Design Award, the Community Design Center also won the 2016 American Architecture Award and the 2016 American Society of Landscape Architects Central States Merit Award.


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