By Emily White

CLEMSON — Clemson architecture students Jason Butz of Charleston, Frank D’Andrea of Potomac, Md., and Carla Landa of Spartanburg have received recognition for their project of a city that works as a cyclical waste system from the International Self-Sufficient City Competition in Barcelona, Spain.
The third Advanced Architecture Contest, sponsored by The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia in Barcelona, drew 708 entries from 116 countries. Invitations were extended to architects, designers, planners and artists.
Participants envisioned the “City of the 21st Century” and generated a plan to respond to the constant challenges and changes in ecology, information technology, socialization and globalization. Self-sufficiency was a key theme of the international competition.
Clemson assistant professor Martha Skinner knew her students would excel in this challenge.
“In my own work and in the kinds of projects that I give to my students, I find it significant to engage problems in our society that need addressing and to come up with visionary ideas that propose solutions to those contemporary needs,” said Skinner. “From there, I think the project has the possibility of having an impact in our built environment, which is in so much need.”
The Clemson group took an ecological approach to the task.
“We decided to focus our proposal on the waste that cities produce,” said D’Andrea. “We looked to nature for inspiration, taking the mushroom's ability to decompose plant waste material and process it into the raw materials, which nurture plant growth.”
While in Barcelona, the students attended the opening of a traveling exhibition including their project. Renowned publisher Actar published a book featuring the group’s project, and Vicente Guallart, director of The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, gave a copy of the book to each student at the ceremony.
“I was able to meet several influential people in the architectural profession, network with other amazing students and see lots of great projects,” said Butz. “I am confident that the connections I made while in Barcelona will carry over into my professional development.”
The jury included mayors, heads of architecture schools, architects, experts and the institute staff. Butz, D’Andrea and Landa were awarded a partial scholarship to attend the institute.
All three students graduated from Clemson in May.