Architecture Students Receive Distinguished Project Merit Award from AIA

Architecture students receive award

By Brian Kleemann

Seven College of DuPage Architecture students have received a 2017 Distinguished Project Merit Award from the American Institute of Architects Northeast Illinois Chapter for a gathering pavilion they designed, built and installed on campus in Glen Ellyn.

Located next to the McAninch Arts Center, the wooden open-air structure was called Umbra 82 by the students, who designed it to play with light and shadow. “Umbra” refers to the darkest part of a shadow, while 82 is the number of white boxes that are inset into the piece.

The students, who were honored at a recent event at the Elmhurst Art Museum, are Andrew Dunlop (Naperville), Arlinda Haxhiu (Lombard), Michael Keslinke (Downers Grove), Jose Maldonado (West Chicago), Drew Peterson (West Chicago), Malak Saadeh (Willowbrook) and Scott Sallmann (Glen Ellyn).

The project was the focus of an eight-week summer Design Build class in 2016 that was funded by a grant through the College Foundation’s Resource for Excellence program. Mark Pearson, Professor of Architecture at College of DuPage, said the class is distinctive because students actually construct their own project.

 “It was quite an honor for our students to be recognized for their creative work and achievements by practicing architects in our region,” he said. “It is also somewhat unique for a student project to win a professional design award such as this.

“As a fun footnote, Dirk Lohan, who is a noted Chicago architect as well as famed architect Mies van der Rohe’s grandson, was the jury chair for this year’s awards. So at the Elmhurst Art Museum, which is adjacent to Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House, our students were recognized for their creative work by Mies’ grandson. That is pretty cool!”

Click here for photos of the gathering pavilion, click here for a video of its installation and click here for a time lapse of the construction phase. 

For more information about the Architecture program at College of DuPage, visit

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Pictured, from left, Jose Maldonado, Scott Sallmann, Michael Keslinke, Andrew Dunlop, Arlinda Haxhiu, Malak Saadeh and College of DuPage Professor of Architecture Mark Pearson. (Photo from College of DuPage)

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