We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of our Honorable mention winners for our “Tiny Kiwi Meditation Cabin” competition – Oonagh Davis and Elias Bennett from United States!

Oonagh Davis and Elias Bennett from United States

Oonagh and Elias met in 2015 as first-year undergraduate students at Cornell AAP’s Department of Architecture and have been in collaboration ever since. Their shared interest in craft, thinking through making, and methodological testing of ideas led them both to become Shop Assistants at the AAP Material Practice Facilities and Teaching Assistants at Cornell, where they helped their peers and each other refine and express architectural ideas. Together, their research spans from the impact of materiality on the sensory experience of space to the study of urban networks and the changing role of public spaces. In both formal expression and detail, their work seeks to reveal new relationships with physical, ecological, and cultural contexts. Since graduating with Bachelor of Architecture degrees from Cornell University in 2020, they have both held positions as Teaching Associates for the First-Year B.Arch Design Studio at Cornell. After numerous past collaborations, the Okioki Cabin is one of their first projects produced under the collective moniker OnE studio.

Oonagh Davis was awarded the Cornell Architecture 2018 Addison G. Crowley (B. L. Arch. ’38) Prize, and the 2018 Heritage Ball Scholarship on behalf of Weiss/Manfredi Architecture - made possible by the AIA NYC and the Center for Architecture. She was also the recipient of the 2020 Clifton Beckwith Brown Memorial Medal and was a 2020 Merrill Presidential Scholar. Oonagh will attend Harvard University’s Master of Architecture II program in the fall of 2021.

Elias Bennett was awarded the Cornell Architecture Seipp Memorial Prize in 2018 for exceptional representation and performance. He was a proud recipient of the AIA Henry Adams Medal and Certificate of Merit in 2020, and was the Degree Marshal for the Bachelor of Architecture Class of 2020 at Cornell University.

Brief information about the projects that you/your company have been involved with. For instance, what scale have you focused on/preferred, any significant projects where the company/ individuals have been involved?

OnE studio’s work tends to keep a small footprint, but always aspires to connect with broader contexts. From furniture and other body prosthetics to experiments with concrete and ceramics, to fully inhabitable spaces, each project is a new experiment that tests our understanding of material, form, site, and space.

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?

An architect constantly listens to and investigates their environment. As often as they can, they seize opportunities to re-frame, re-imagine, and re-organize the observed condition in a way that improves the lives of those they share it with.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

Architecture competitions are a place to iterate, collaborate, and produce with a self-driven rigor not often found outside of school. Competing keeps us on our toes.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture competitions?

Even a project that doesn’t make it as far as you’d like is an opportunity to hone your abilities. Ask what skills you will extract from the experience rather than what the competition will hand you if you win. When you experience the inevitable stress of being judged by a jury of strangers, remember that every designer you look up to once lost a competition for the first time. 

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