Iowa State University
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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

11-4-08

Contacts:

Michael Grundleger, Architecture graduate student, (515) 321-7888, mgrundle@iastate.edu

Jennifer Lehmkuhl, Architecture graduate student, (515) 291-7075, jlehmkuh@iastate.edu

Cigdem Akkurt, Interior Design, (515) 294-8978, akkurt@iastate.edu

Heather Sauer, College of Design communications, (515) 294-9289, hsauer@iastate.edu

Jennifer Lehmkuhl and Michael Grundleger

Architecture graduate students Jennifer Lehmkuhl and Michael Grundleger won the Hospitality Design student competition.

Design by two ISU architecture students takes top honors in national competition

AMES, Iowa --The work of two Iowa State University design graduate students is featured on the cover of the December issue of Hospitality Design (HD) magazine.

Michael Grundleger and Jennifer Lehmkuhl, both third-year graduate students in architecture, were featured because they won the top award in the student category of the fourth annual HD Awards for their design of a hotel with an art gallery. The competition recognizes outstanding design projects in 13 categories that relate to the hospitality industry.

The awards were made last summer, with details of all the winning projects published in the May/June issue of Hospitality Design. The December issue's cover will feature a supplemental image of the Iowa State students' project.

There were 24 competition entries in the student category from schools around the United States. Judges selected two winning projects and one finalist. Entries were evaluated on creativity, practicality and function.

"The judges thought [Grundleger and Lehmkuhl's project] was very innovative and very well thought out," said Jana Schiowitz, project manager for the HD Awards.

Grundleger, of Des Moines, and Lehmkuhl, of Hiawatha, developed the concept for their project last spring in an interdisciplinary design studio class.

Grundleger and Lehmkuhl called their project "hotel spAr."

"The significance of the title is that the whole concept of our project was an art gallery within a hotel. Thus the idea behind the space plan was to create something that was very sparse, so the name just followed," Lehmkuhl said.

Grundleger added, "The course assignment specified that it's in rural Iowa...we thought the art gallery concept was a really good way of bringing people out, to attract tourists and others to the area. The idea was that the hotel would have a permanent art collection as well as rotating work by new artists. You could stay in the room with your favorite piece of art -- for instance, you could ask to stay in room 406 with a Pollock painting."

The project also was designed to take advantage of the assigned site along the Mississippi River.

"The building envelope is really open, with lots of glass, to allow for a strong connection to the outdoors, but an art gallery requires some pieces to be protected from sunlight," Grundleger explained. "So the floor plan is open, with no doorways to separate the gallery from the other hotel spaces, but walls are strategically placed to protect the art while at the same time permitting a connection and views to the outside."

The two students worked collaboratively to create their design.

"At the beginning, we took the project separately to brainstorm our overall concept," Lehmkuhl said. "Once that was done, we each had our parts to focus on, but no major decisions were made without consulting the other. Mainly, I am a big picture person and Mike is a detail person, so we just work well as a team."

The award has helped both students gain perspective on their abilities and career options.

"I think for me, because I came from such a varied background, I had doubts about whether I was doing the right thing," Grundleger said. "This was a validating point that said maybe I can do this, maybe this is the right field."

Lehmkuhl added, "I have always wanted to get into the hospitality design industry, so this was a great way to get my name out there. Also, now I have a great project for my portfolio!"

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SpAr interior
SpAr exterior

Quick look

The work of two architecture graduate students is featured on the cover of the December issue of Hospitality Design (HD) magazine. Michael Grundleger and Jennifer Lehmkuhl were featured because they won the top award in the student category of the fourth annual HD Awards for their design of a hotel with an art gallery. The competition recognizes outstanding design projects in 13 categories that relate to the hospitality industry. There were 24 competition entries in the student category from schools around the United States. Judges selected two winning projects and one finalist. Entries were evaluated on creativity, practicality and function.

Quote

"The judges thought [Grundleger and Lehmkuhl's project] was very innovative and very well thought out."

Jana Schiowitz, project manager for the HD Awards