The student architecture team at UTSA competed in an event held by the Texas Society of Architects and brought home the victory against teams from Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Del Mar and Rice. The team consisted of Mauricio Garza, Rachel Henkes, Armando Arazia and Jesus Alfonso. The four are currently graduate students, some of which with a focus in green design — a subfield of architecture dealing with environmental attributes as design objectives aimed at improving performance and functionality without compromising quality and the useful life of a product.

The Texas Society of Architects was founded in 1939, and its members elected their first officers out of 47 architects. Currently, the organization consists of 18 different regional components and has over 7,000 members. This year, the society invited several teams to find a solution to Galveston’s diminishing shoreline as a result of climate change and rising sea levels. The UTSA team came up with a solution that would not only keep Galveston Island habitable, but it would also preserve decades of architecture and culture on the island as well. Their solution, consisting of three phases, was to raise the sidewalks and build on top of preexisting buildings.

The students’ website states that phase one is to “introduce floating modular palettes to Galveston before significant flooding occurs.” Phase two consists of physically assembling the palettes and introducing them to the public. The final phase will be their application of the palettes into everyday life, while building the new city on the foundations of the preexisting one, making cars obsolete within twenty to fifty years into the future.

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