Kyle Stauffer, a senior landscape architecture student in West Virginia University’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, was recently named the winner of the 2009 ReCycle This Site design competition.

Stauffer, from Millersville, Pa., was one of six finalists in the national competition. He was joined by two classmates – Nina Chase of Morgantown, who placed second, and Calin Owens of Saint Albans. The other three finalists were students from Virginia Tech, University of Arizona and Clemson University.

Sponsored by the Land-of-Sky Regional Council, a four-county local government planning and development organization in Western North Carolina, and the Environmental Protection Agency, the national competition encourages architectural students to design an environmentally sound space to live, work and play in Asheville, N.C.

The winner received a $2,500 scholarship, the opportunity to present at national conferences and be featured in national publications. The runner-up received a $500 scholarship.

Stauffer and the other finalists gave presentations to a committee of North Carolina businessmen and women, local artists, architects, landscape architects and other stakeholders on March 26.

While enjoying his spring break in Las Vegas, Stauffer received an e-mail congratulating him on placing first.

“I was speechless,” he said. “All of the contestants were top notch. Although I thought my presentation went well and the committee said they liked my work, I still couldn’t believe I won.”

“It can be difficult to impress one person, let alone 15. Each person has a different idea of how they’d like the site to be utilized,” he added. “I tried not to focus on architectural aspects and specific building materials, but rather the landscape and overall function of the space.”

Situated on 13 acres in the center of Asheville’s River Arts District and adjacent to the French Broad River, the site currently holds 11 buildings and warehouses. Additionally, it was once home to the largest tannery in the United States.

Students were asked to design a multi-use site where people can live, work and play while incorporating existing buildings and materials, landscape, riverfront access and stormwater management, renewable energy sources, U.S. Green Building Council LEED design, and the site’s contaminated soil and brownfield status.

A brownfield is a property with contaminants or pollutants present – or potentially present – that may hinder the redevelopment of the site.

Stauffer organized his site design in a radial layout reminiscent of the rising sun and expressed common themes of succession, recycling and community expression.

“This is a rising community and I really wanted this design to inspire the people of Asheville to create unique spaces they can share together and with others,” he said.

In his design, succession was illustrated through heavy industrial concentration at the site’s edge bordered by railroad tracks and transitioning to a grassland-like area along the river. Recycling can be seen in the use of existing materials to create new structures including parking, walkways, stores and residential units. He also created a dual-purpose plaza to cap the ground contamination and provide space for community expression.

Stauffer will graduate in May 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture. In the fall, he plans to start graduate school at Penn State University where he received the prestigious Alma Heinz and August Louis Pohland Graduate Fellowship.

In other words, he says, “Life is good.”



CONTACT: Lindsay Altobello, Davis College