Architecture award recipients

Award Recipients Craig Findlay (right) and Hannah Christy (left) pose outside the Architecture Building on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Two recent UNL graduates won the Architizer’s second annual One Drawing Challenge, which is an international competition that seeks architectural drawings. 

Out of over 400 international submissions, former University of Nebraska-Lincoln master of architecture students Hannah Christy and Craig Findlay were named the student grand prize winners. They took home the grand prize of $2,500 cash, a Leuchtturm1917 Notebook, a pro digital drawing package and had their work published in Architizer Journal. 

“The best part of the process was working with not only an incredible partner, but an incredible professor as well,” Christy said in an email. 

According to Architizer, the challenge poses the question, “Can you create a single drawing that tells a story behind a complex piece of architecture?” 

The team began their winning project “Concrete Atla(nti)s” in the fall of 2019. Brian Kelly, an associate professor of architecture at UNL, helped guide the pair throughout the process by pushing them to try unconventional representation techniques. 

Inspired by the haphazard mismanagement of reusable commodities, their drawing consisted of an abandoned missile silo that emphasizes the utilization of abandoned recyclable materials, which was explained in the description of their drawing. 

Christy and Findlay met their freshman year of college and got along so well that they continued working together after graduation. 

“I was more than happy to be Hannah’s partner because she has strengths I personally don’t have, and I would confidently say I bring a particular set of skills that resulted in both a lasting friendship and a great project at the end of the semester,” Findlay said in an email. 

The process behind “Concrete Atla(nti)s” was a long one. Instead of using the 3D modeling software Rhino that they were used to, Kelly pushed the duo to use Photoshop to challenge them. They found ways to create three-dimensional architectural spaces and depth with two-dimensional software, and this pushed for new conceptual avenues, Christy said. 

“We wanted to give every inch of the section its own identity and life, ultimately telling an architectural story as it ascends,” Christy said. “With our site being an abandoned nuclear missile silo, we ultimately decided to emphasize the utilization of abandoned recyclable materials in order to create architectural spaces that tell a story”. 

Even though the competition submission allowed for plenty of freedom, Christy said it was important to focus on all of the little details.

With all of the details that went into the project, at the end of the semester, their project file consisted of thousands of layers. 

“By the end of the semester, we had to upgrade our Google storage to hold all of the files,” Findlay said. “The Photoshop files would grow and be passed back and forth between us on [a] daily basis and each person would keep adding layers.”

After receiving the email about winning the competition, Christy said she was shocked and called Findlay and Kelly. She said it was “bittersweet.”

“Overall, I feel extremely grateful to have had this opportunity,” Christy said. “Working on this project with Craig Findlay and our professor Brian Kelly was an absolute joy. It was just such a positive experience and we are beyond thankful for this outcome.”