Janet Chen, University of Texas at Austin
2017 Brinkmann Scholarship — First Prize Winner
A woman smiling in front of a flowering tree. A group of people on a stage. A person smiling at the camera. A high angle view of a building.
1 of 4
April 14, 2017

Gensler Selects 2017 Brinkmann Scholarship Winners

Gensler is pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 Brinkmann Scholarship. Janet Chen, an undergraduate student of interior design at the University of Texas at Austin, received first prize. Second prize went to Mary Morgan Smith, an undergraduate student of interior design at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Both winners will receive scholarships and opportunities to intern with Gensler.

“Interior design is an increasingly complex field that requires practitioners to balance aesthetic concerns with performance considerations in very sophisticated and nuanced ways,” says Robin Klehr Avia, regional managing principal for Gensler’s Northeast and Latin America regions. “The Brinkmann Scholarship is our way of investing in the very best emerging talent in this field. We were very impressed by Janet and Mary’s submissions and look forward to helping them apply their talents in Gensler’s forward-thinking professional environment.”

Chen’s winning submission, an artful design for a restorative bath house on the upper two floors of a boutique hotel in Austin, Texas, blends a distinct design concept of undulating built forms and water with special attention paid to the user experience through materiality and lighting. A strong proponent of using design to foster greater levels of physical and emotional well-being, Chen says her goal for the future is to design structures that “will benefit society and provide a positive influence to the general public.”

Smith’s second-place submission proposes transforming the top two floors of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, New York, into a botanical research center. Her design celebrates the integration of nature into the built environment and expresses an integral relationship with the adjacent High Line public park.

Established in 1999 as a memorial to Donald G. Brinkmann, an inspirational interior designer and former Gensler principal, the Gensler Brinkmann Scholarship Fund celebrates Brinkmann’s career-long commitment to nurturing new design talent by awarding scholarships and internship opportunities to outstanding interior design students. Applications for the scholarship launch in September each year and close in December. Candidates are evaluated based upon their analysis and problem solving skills, design development, graphic presentation, communication skills and passion.

For any media inquiries, please email .