Sept. Mag - Puppe

Josh Puppe never followed the rules.

A graduate student of the College of Architecture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he remembered how he redrew lines on a different piece of paper instead of coloring the page in his Harry Potter-themed coloring book when he was a kid.

“I just really didn’t follow the rules,” Puppe said. “I didn’t color within the line – I redrew the lines.”

That ability to think outside the box led him to receive four awards from the Autodesk’s Rookies 2018 program in the summer.

“I was really surprised honestly,” he said. “I was going into [the program] saying, ‘Why not?’”

The Rookies is a competitive annual program sponsored by Autodesk, an American multinational corporation that designs software used in architecture, engineering and media and entertainment industries. The program gives students across-the-globe opportunities to showcase their work and be evaluated by top-rated industry professionals.

Puppe said he gained his inspiration from a UNL studio course discussing an architectural design concept called narrative architecture taught by Cruz Garcia, a UNL Hyde Lecturer.

According to Garcia, narrative architecture uses architectural representation such as drawings, digital images and collages to create stories about the relationship between architecture and societal and environmental issues.

“It’s not just architecture that makes stories; it’s an architecture that makes critical stories,” Garcia said. “It uses the repertoire of architectural representation to make a form of critique through representation.”

Puppe said he applies the concept of narrative architecture to “start a conversation” about environmental issues around the world, such as global warming.

In his work submitted to the Rookies titled “Autonomous Ocean,” he compiled his digital drawings and designs to create an animation of an imaginative vessel that could regenerate icebergs from seawater in an attempt to combat global warming and melting polar ice caps.

“It speaks to the climate issue we have to face in the next thirty, forty years,” Puppe said. “So taking sort of geometric formal languages and mixing that with sort of ideas of telling a story gets us to think about bigger problems in the world.”

With his expansive animation software experience, Puppe said he wants to combine his passion for video games, architecture and art into a career path.

Although he may not be able to pinpoint the exact job he will want, Puppe said he always strives to use his design skills to encourage people to take care of their environments, whether they are natural or constructed.

After seeing Puppe’s work ethic in class, Garcia said Puppe’s Rookies recognition was not a surprise, but was another step for people to recognize Puppe’s work.

“We’re really happy about people knowing his work is really good,” Garcia said. “I think that’s what we want him to do, to encourage him to keep being generous and curious and keep working hard and making great projects.”

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This article was originally published in the September 2018 edition of The DN.