Grace Link's rendering of Technology Building on North Campus for her project
BGSU graduate student Grace Link designed a new Technology Building on North Campus for her project. This rendering shows her concept for a cafe within the space.

BGSU grad student's sustainable building project earns AIA Dayton award

Grace Link’s concept for new Technology Building honored at AIA Dayton Focus on Design

By: Nick Piotrowicz

At the recommendation of her instructor, a Bowling Green State University graduate student entered her coursework into a prestigious competition that has jump-started her career before she has even graduated.

Assistant teaching professor Patrick Hansford suggested that Grace Link, who is pursuing a Master of Architecture degree at BGSU, had something special in her project from ARCH 6220: Graduate Design Studio 2. Link took Hansford's class in spring 2021, then entered her work into the Dayton chapter of the American Institute of Architects’ Focus on Design competition last fall, at which Link became the only person honored in the student design category by earning an Honorable Mention Award.

Further, Link used the project and its award-winning credentials at the top of her portfolio, and has since chosen from multiple job offers while in school, accepting a project manager position in Bellefontaine, Ohio, that will begin following her BGSU graduation. 

Grace Link earns an award from AIA Dayton Focus on Design competition
BGSU graduate student Grace Link turned a class project into an award from the AIA Dayton Focus on Design competition, then used the work as a key part of her portfolio. Link has been hired to be a project manager after her graduation next month.

Link said an architect has the task of activating a space, and pointed to Hansford for helping guide her idea to the point where it was recognized at the state level.

“Patrick was very, very instrumental in pushing me and the project to where it needed to be,” Link said. “At first, this was just for a grade, but then Patrick mentioned this contest and said that I should enter. I was contacted a few months later and ended up receiving honorable mention, and then later, I incorporated this project as the first item in my portfolio.”

Hansford tasked his ARCH 6220 students with a semester-long project of conceptualizing a new building for the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering – a real project currently ongoing at BGSU – and developing a master plan for North Campus.

For the project, students met with representatives from construction and planning for the project, as well as additional BGSU faculty, including College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering dean Dr. Jennie Gallimore.

Link threw herself into the challenge of coming up with a building that was sustainable, functional and fit the space it occupied on North Campus. 

“We talk about precedence a lot in architecture, so the first thing we always do is look at case studies for inspiration,” Link said. “I looked at many different campuses and many different science and technology buildings and pulled inspiration from them, and our project also incorporated a master plan, which is city planning design that just happened to be for a campus."

“Architects are all about space and how the space makes one feel as you walk through it, so it’s this reactionary piece of functional art.”

ARCH 6220 is a studio course that centers around sustainability, and the common thread for students is the challenge of designing something viable that fits in a given space. 

Hansford said students also have to consider integrated design aspects that they will encounter in real-world settings such as building and accessibility codes, structure and mechanical systems.

“Grace truly embraced the project,” Hansford said. “She began her design at the urban scale and worked to resolve the idea of creating better spaces and buildings for North Campus. She always saw her building being a gateway to the ‘Technology Village’ that North Campus could become. Her urban plan truly drove her building design.

“As she worked on her original concept, you could see that she was switching back and forth from the urban scale to the building scale and adjusting her design at both scales, all the while addressing issues of sustainability.”

Hansford said Link’s work during the course showed her potential in the field going forward. 

“Grace has a great future ahead of her and she will definitely have an impact on her community as she continues into the profession,” Hansford said. “She is a self-starter who is driven to do the highest quality of work within her means.”

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Updated: 03/25/2022 04:05PM