UC Classmates' award winning redesign of Drop Inn Center will compete nationally

A three-person team of UC classmates took the top prize at the 2009 Natural Talent Design Competition sponsored by the Cincinnati chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council  with a redesign of the city’s Drop Inn Center homeless shelter.

The trio received a $1,000 cash prize, and will compete with other designers in a national contest at USGBC’s Annual Green Building Conference and Expo in Phoenix Nov. 11-13.

Nearly a dozen teams of young professionals and students competed in the Cincinnati contest, which required them to design in accordance with the LEED Green Building Rating System. It was one of more than two-dozen contests that took place across the country from New York City to Los Angeles.

The Cincinnati team of Stephanie McBride, Donald Mouch and Corey DiRutigliano won with their creative design which incorporated solar panels and skylights, green space, rain water collection system, radiant floor heating, roof and hanging gardens and more. The design also incorporated the practical elements of the Over-the-Rhine shelter with separate woman’s and men’s dorm facilities, residential recovery units, employee offices and dining area.

There are no plans for the winning design to be used at the Center, but potentially it could serve as a starting point if the Drop Inn center is redeveloped.

“(The) Drop Inn Center's redesign is structured around assisting the growth of the homeless into employed, self-sufficient adults. The Drop Inn Center should not be constricted to simply being a homeless shelter, but rather should aspire to connect its users with the community and the environment in which they live,” the trio explained in its project submission.

The design took about two months to complete, McBride said. The team spent most of that time talking about what the design should include and what statement it should make.

“The social aspect of the design was important. We didn’t want to build a bigger center, we wanted to confront the problem (of homelessness) and provide a quality of life for the inhabitants,” said McBride, and Artechture grad working on her MBA at UC.

Writer: Feoshia Henderson
Sources:  Stephanie McBride, UC Grad, Dan O'Keeffe, O'Keeffe Communications Inc.

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