A strong supporter of the world’s future designers, global design and BIM software provider Vectorworks, Inc. announced the 2022 Vectorworks Design Scholarship winners, with Michelle Wanitzek taking home the coveted Richard Diehl Award. With over 1,000 submissions, scholarships were awarded to 30 students for 22 projects in the architecture, interior design, landscape and entertainment industries. 

This year’s winning project, "Nomad Coworking,” submitted by Wanitzek for her master’s thesis at the University of Wismar, features a coworking space and coffeeshop in a listed monument — a site identified for its architectural or historical significance — and focuses on the increasing importance of alternative and flexible workspaces. The design tackled a challenging task — working with a historical monument's intricacies and structural limits while simultaneously preserving the protected façade and showcasing the transformation for experiential value.

“Courageous, creative and consistent! Michelle Wanitzek’s project, ‘Nomad Coworking,’ is a prime example of holistic interior design for existing historic buildings,” said Birgit Von Moltke of von Moltke InnenArchitekten, a member of this year’s judging panel. 

“With a progressive idea of what monument protection means, Michelle designed an infrastructure in the middle of Wismar’s Old Town, which is suitable to revitalize the city and capable of giving the monument a contemporary purpose,” said the University of Wismar Dean of the Faculty of Design Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Oliver Hantke, judging panel member.  “Her concept of multi-layered use picks up on current trends in the construction industry including sustainability and efficiency strategy, utilizing historical buildings, revitalizing small-town structures, new forms of working environments and providing communication structures to strengthen social cohesion.”

“It is a great honor to win the Richard Diehl Award with my thesis project, especially because I never expected this success,” said Wanitzek. “It means a lot to me to show that interior design is much more than most people realize. It’s about how we want to live and how we can utilize the architecture that already surrounds us. I think in today’s world, there should be an increased focus on repurposing existing buildings and I hope this award will increase awareness of the practice.”

The selected winners represent a wide range of countries worldwide including Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. An expert panel of international judges evaluated all submissions on five main criteria: design, technology, originality, presentation and writing. 

Congratulations to this year's winners:

Architecture Winners:

  • “Timber: Material Explorations and Speculations” by Ahmed Helal, City College of New York
  • “Salt Market” by Claudia A Crespo Castro, University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras - School of Architecture
  • “The Conservative Pubs of Hierarchy”’ by Nicoleta Rugina, Birmingham City University
  • “Working and Living in Symbiosis” by Ildut Lesteven, Ecole Nationale Supérieur d'Architecture Paris Val-de-Seine
  • “Ubuntu – Small Town, Big House” by Yui Hasegawa and Yori Mihara, Musashino Art University
  • “Food Forms” by Blanka Dominika Major, Severin Jann and Valentin Ribi, ETH Zürich
  • “Everything Remains the Same” by Fabian Moser, Niels Striby, Merve Simsek, Helene Merkle and Thomas Ederer, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Interior Design Winners:

  • “Marylebone Proper Hotel” by Sara Riofrio, Solent University 
  • “Vitra Stant Design” by Sila Şimşek and Edanaz Topaktaş, Hacettepe University 
  • “Agricultural Childcare Center 'Het Snuitje'” by Jannie Dircks, Jan des Bouvrie Academy - Saxion Deventer
  • “Pet Ceremony Hall” by Cai Rou Wang, Osaka University of Arts

Landscape Winners:

  • “Site, Sight, Insight” by Chui Shan Tsang, University College London
  • “Ingolstadt - On the Maelstrom into a Challenged Future” by Lea Jaud, University of Copenhagen 
  • “Rising with the Phoenix: The Next Generation of Blue-Green Infrastructural Design in its Re-Integration with Social & Cultural Realms” by Lok Tim Chan, Cornell University 
  • “Rain Park” by Marta Szar, University of Technology in Cracow
  • “Nature in a Grid- Transformation of a Ruin” by Simeon von Russow, Berlin University of Applied Sciences (BHT)

Entertainment Winners

  • “Shakespeare’s Women” by Brock Keeler, University of Victoria
  • “Blood Wedding Reimagined” by Kane Hollingsworth, Nottingham Trent University
  • “Songs for a New World” by Martin Benesh, State University of New York at New Paltz 
  • “Art exhibition ‘Lokhalle Mainz’” by Celina Rau, Technische Hochschule Mittelhessen
  • “Francine Vasse Theater: Renovation of the Scenic Networks” by Pierre Pino, Gabriel Guist'hau College

“In a large group of finalists, the ‘Nomad Coworking’ project stood out with a graphically rich, comprehensive, and respectful play on adaptive reuse. The detail heavy existing vernacular is respected with a tactful approach to material selection and textural play. Michelle’s use of diagrams opposed to plans and details told a unified and visually compelling story from concept through visualization,” said Vectorworks Solutions Team Manager Rob Hollis, AIA. “All of this year’s winners should be very proud. Clearly, the future of design is in extremely capable hands with these talented students.” 

Winners received the equivalent of up to $3,000 USD in their local currency, free Vectorworks educational software licenses for their schools and complimentary virtual workshop training. As the Richard Diehl Award winner, Wanitzek received an additional prize package including the equivalent of $7,000 USD in local currency and professional networking opportunities. 

Visit the Vectorworks Design Scholarship web gallery to view all 22 winning designs, runner-up projects and projects from past years. 

To learn more about Vectorworks academic programs, visit vectorworks.net/education. Students and instructors can also download a free individual copy of Vectorworks Design Suite software at student.myvectorworks.net