Mustapha Williams, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
2017 Diversity Scholarship — First Prize Winner
A man wearing a red shirt and tie. A building on a lake. A boy wearing glasses. Diagram, engineering drawing.
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April 14, 2017

Gensler Selects 2017 Diversity Scholarship Winners

Gensler is pleased to announce the winners of the firm’s ninth annual Diversity Scholarship. Mustapha Williams, an undergraduate student of architecture at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, received first prize honor. Second prize went to Farre Nixon, a graduate student of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. Both winners will receive academic scholarships and opportunities to intern with Gensler.

“Gensler’s Diversity Scholarship not only allows us to invest in emerging African-American design talent but further strengthens our firm’s innovation culture by inviting these young, talented designers to help us deliver great design to our clients,” says Gensler Co-CEO Diane Hoskins.

Mustapha Williams’ winning submission, a proposed visitor center for the Mies van der Rohe Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois, uses the landscape as a backdrop to artfully connect nature and architecture, new and old. The dramatic ideas proposed in Williams’ winning project demonstrate an ability to merge public and private spaces in manners that benefit citizens and communities alike.

Farre Nixon’s second place submission, a live-work mixed-use building in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, marries exceptional aesthetic considerations with creative functionality in a way that conveys both the purpose and promise the building can offer residents and tenants.

The Gensler Diversity Scholarship is a juried program that recognizes emerging talent among African-American college students enrolled in accredited architecture programs. The jury, composed of global design leaders across Gensler, selects winners from numerous applications across the nation. Founded to encourage a more robust dialogue between the architectural profession and African-American architecture students, the scholarship reflects Gensler’s longstanding commitment to the recruitment and development of diverse design talent. The collaborative work setting at Gensler, with its diverse group of design experts, provides the perfect environment for selected students to grow and expand their core competencies.

“Gensler’s Diversity Scholarship is an important platform for investing in emerging talent from communities that have been traditionally underrepresented within the architecture and design industry,” says Carlos Martinez, a Gensler principal. “We believe that teams with a diversity of backgrounds, ideas and perspectives significantly enrich the creative process.”

The Diversity Scholarship is a critical component of Gensler’s university and student outreach efforts. Applications for the scholarship launch in September each year and close in December. To be considered, students must be nominated by the dean of their school and submit work representative of their best design skills.

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