Penn State’s Interdisciplinary Team Places Second in Coastal Design Competition

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania — An interdisciplinary team of landscape architecture and civil engineering students from Penn State won second place in the biannual Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF) design competition, which focused on the Coastal Resilience Planning in Hampton, Virginia.

Penn State was one of six teams that entered the contest, which was themed “Celebrating our past, charting our future.”

The team was led by Peter Stempel, associate professor of landscape architecture and research fellow at the Stuckeman School’s Hamer Center for Community Design, with Andy Cole, professor of landscape architecture and director of the E+ research initiative D: Ecology plus Design, and Caitlin Grady, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering.

Stempel taught a studio class during the spring 2021 semester in which he introduced the contest theme of resilience to students. After the studio ended, the majority of Stempel students chose to continue their work and enter the competition.

“Our project was very well designed as an inquiry. I posed a question to the students that focused on how resilience planning can better engage equity and justice. This is a major gap in the planning for resilience right now, so our work has been uniquely structured around that,” Stempel said. “There was a need for students to explore and develop new ideas. We did that throughout the semester. After the semester, I created a series of online materials and then collaborated with the students remotely, basically from April until the competition submission in October.