Third year architects take three of five top honors at Historical Dwellings Idea Competition in Rome

Author: Pamela Graham

This past week, third year architecture students enjoyed the fruits of months of hard work as they closed out their academic year in Rome with final reviews, exams and a public exhibition of their work. On Friday May 3rd, eleven of those arkies attended the awards ceremony for an ideas competition sponsored by the Associazione di Dimore Storiche Italiane (Italian Association for Historical Dwellings).  In three groups, the students entered the competition to offer proposals on how to restore and requalify the historical dwelling, Villa Mergè “Palazzetto’ and its surrounding garden. Villa Mergè is located in the hill town of Frascati outside of Rome and is classified as a national monument. In this, its second annual edition, the competition hosted teams from Università Tor Vergata, La Sapienza, LUISS and Roma Tre, as well as Notre Dame’s School of Architecture.

At the awards ceremony, the School of Architecture third-year students were awarded first place, second place, and honorable mention.

GruppoThe eleven participants after the awards ceremony.

The criteria included the re-qualification of the surrounding gardens and the need for self-sustainability. Among the jurors of the competition were the president of ASDI, Massimo Lancellotti, Massimo e Patrizio Mergè, and Giampiero Marchesi representative of the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali.

Winners of the honorable mention award were Jessica Most, James Pescio and Mary Rzepczynski. Winners of the second place prize were Mark Burger, Benedict Cook, Peter Klein, and Macartan Commers. Winners of the first place prize were Nick Oddo, Michael Parks, Esteban Salazar, and Phillip Spence.

“Working on this project was one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences I have had in architecture,” says first prize winner Esteban Salazar. “My teammates never let up their enthusiasm until the finish line, and they pushed me to work harder than I could have imagined. I think we are all leaving this competition with the confidence that we have made a beautiful project that can be, and will be, fully realized.”

In addition to fellow arkies, design studio faculty Academic Director Fr. Richard Bullene, Selena Anders, Jonathan Weatherill and Ettore Mazzola, were on hand at the historic Accademia San Luca for the awards ceremony, to share in their students’ joy of the competition results.

“The fact that all of the Notre Dame teams were considered as top five projects, is a confirmation of all the lessons we learned over the course of our year in Rome,” concluded Salazar.

Originally published by Pamela Graham at on May 09, 2019.