Global design software developer Vectorworks Inc. continues to invest in the next generation of creative visionaries with its Vectorworks Design Scholarship program. Among the more than 2,000 entries received from students worldwide, Benno Schmitz from the Beuth University of Applied Sciences Berlin won the prestigious Richard Diehl Award, the grand prize of the scholarship program worth a total of $10,000, for his project, The Museum of Contemporary Arts in Bonn.

“The creative potential we saw in this year's entries is exciting, including inspiring submissions like Benno's," said Richard Diehl, founder and chairman of Vectorworks, Inc., and namesake of the grand prize. "We saw the number of entries over last year double and are thrilled to support students who represent the future of design innovation as they continue to pursue their degrees and launch their careers."

For his submission, Schmitz entered an assignment from a university class in which he created a place where nature and culture meet in a visually striking experience. Schmitz’s design for a cultural site that connects a historic mining and industrial area to the urban landscape of Bonn, Germany impressed the scholarship judges with both its originality and powerful use of space. Schmitz therefore received a $3,000 Vectorworks Design Scholarship plus a $7,000 Richard Diehl Award.

“The site for the museum is marked by industrial ruins, as well as environmental damage from the mining of coal and stone,” said Schmitz. “The whole topography of the area has been changed by humans. The museum brings new culture to this place where I grew up and uses humankind’s impact on the environment to its advantage. Without the sheer rock face left behind from the stone quarry, the design wouldn’t be as visually impactful, and without the museum, this wasteland of space wouldn’t be as meaningful. Only together do they work perfectly.”

In addition to honoring Schmitz, an international panel of design professionals and academics also presented 15 Vectorworks Design Scholarships worth $3,000 each to individuals across the architecture, landscape and entertainment design fields in Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Students were able to submit both individual and group work created in any design software, which was evaluated based design integrity, effective use of computer technology and originality, as well as the articulation and communication of a design vision.

The winning projects included: 

  • Café Terminaal by Frédérique Windels and Yleni Bossu, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
  • Flowing Time—The Industrial Landscape Restoration of 751 Locomotive Square by Lin Xu (林徐), Capital Normal University Beijing, China
  • Live Forever by Xiang Liu (刘翔刘), Central Academy of Drama Beijing, China
  • Mexico City BIGnature by Natasha Polozenko, Harvard Graduate School of Design, United States
  • Opportunity in Danger by Maham Tahir, Birmingham School of Architecture, United Kingdom
  • Räumlich Reimagined by Fatima Blötzer, Muttenz der Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz, Switzerland
  • Rosengarten Hotel by Brecht Casier, Sint Lucas, Belgium
  • The Center for Folktale Communication by Ryan Turner and Ronli Mak, University of Calgary, Canada
  • The Electra Project by Martha Carter and Morgan Price, University of California at Irvine, United States
  • “The Displacement” or “Revolt of Abandoned Architecture” by Anthony Chun Ming Ko, The University of Hong Kong, China
  • The Magic Flute by Neneh Lucia, Victorian College of the Arts, Australia
  • The Nature of Flutmulde by Nikolai Hein and Yumeng Zhang, University of Kassel, Germany
  • The Nest We Grow by Baxter Smith, Hsiu Wei Chang, Fanzheng Dong, Hsin-Yu Chen, Yan Huang and Max Edwards, University of California at Berkeley, United States
  • Vertical Metabolism by Matt Perotto, University of Toronto, Canada
  • What is Normal? by Isabelle Weydert, Sint Lucas, Belgium

In addition to the monetary awards, winners’ schools also receive licenses of Vectorworks Designer with Renderworks software for their labs and training provided by a Vectorworks expert. Schmitz acknowledged that two of his professors at Beuth University of Applied Sciences Berlin supported him as he addressed challenging aspects of detailing his design. They will be among the instructors whose labs will benefit from Vectorworks’ most comprehensive set of design tools.

“Winning the Vectorworks scholarship is an honor, and I’m excited to use the prize money to travel to various workshops and buy new design books to help me advance in my career and expand my knowledge of architecture,” said Schmitz. “Creating new environments is very important for the future. I look forward to being able to find better ways to design with materials that result in more energy-efficient buildings.” 

Visit the Vectorworks Design Scholarship gallery to view the winning designs and runners-up projects. Once there, students may sign up for notifications about when the 2016 scholarship program will launch. They may also follow @Vectorworks on Twitter and search #FundMyVision to learn about other ways Vectorworks supports the educational community.