Mia Walker’s “Above The Marsh” Wins 2023 Top Cote Ten, SARA NY, and AIA Greenville Student Design Awards

Mia Walker, McMillan Pazdan Smith (Charleston)

Charleston, SC - McMillan Pazdan Smith’s Mia Walker can add 2023 Top Cote Ten award winner to her growing list of student design awards. The American Institute of Architects, Committee on the Environment (AIA COTE), in partnership with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), selected ten recipients from over 1,000 submissions to recognize “exceptional studio projects that demonstrate designs moving towards carbon-neutral operation through creative and innovative integration of design strategies.”

Walker and her design partner Lucas Schindler’s submission “Above The Marsh” was selected by the jury who mentioned “The design carefully creates a model that can be repeated in other marsh and coastal lands.”

“Above The Marsh” also received a SARA NY student award of honor this year, presented at the annual Design Awards Gala at The Manhattan Manor in Times Square, New York. The Society of American Registered Architects (SARA) is a professional organization of architects and industry related partners who recognize achievements in architecture. This year’s jury was comprised of Mary Burnham, Dana Tang, Jejon Yeung, Preet Gill, and Jordan Rogove.

AIA Greenville recognized the same project, awarding it a 2023 Student Merit Design Award. Jurors from all three awards competitions recognized Walker and Schindler’s project for its socially responsible, environmentally respectful, and economically sustainable solutions to the negative impacts that tourism can have on biodiversity and local resources.

Above The Marsh rendering by Mia Walker and Lucas Schindler 2023

“Above The Marsh” seeks to solve these issues through maintaining the coastline, increasing natural ecosystems, and bringing a larger demographic through a hostel work exchange that encourages environmentally friendly activities. The project contains 18 live-work units, a restaurant, a market space, an aquaculture center (fish/oyster farm), an immersive greenhouse, and ample civic/public space. Each of these spaces play an important role of working toward providing a stronger relationship between the public and the surrounding environment.

Walker is an M.Arch student at Clemson and Design Professional at McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, focusing on healthcare design and working out of the firm’s Charleston studio in Morrison Yard. “I want to work in a field where I feel like I’m giving back,” Walker says, “we’re designing spaces to better the world and help people when they’re in need.”

About McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture
McMillan Pazdan Smith (MPS) is an architecture, advisory services, planning, and interior design firm. Practicing since 1955, the firm currently has eight offices throughout the Southeast. As a community-based firm, MPS is driven by a collaborative culture, creative client solutions, and design excellence. With over 100 AIA awards since 2000, the firm’s purpose is to reimagine what's possible and create meaningful and lasting impact for the good of all.


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