We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the Sustainability Award winner of our "Los Angeles Affordable Housing Challenge" competition – Madalyn Grace Asker and Randy Teal from United States!

Madalyn Grace Asker and Randy Teal

Please tell us about your company (when it was founded, where it is based, how many employees, etc) Alternatively, if you do not have a company, please give us some insights on your own professional/academia background.

Madalyn is an architectural designer and visiting assistant professor at the University of Idaho. Though a focus on community-led practices, she studies the relationship between architecture, (urban) politics, and social/environmental responsibilities. She works on small-scale spatial proposals deeply entrenched in local conditions, with a particular inclination towards sites of violence and disinvestment. Within her process, she initiates processes that unveil possibilities inherent in place and their narrative. In this paradigm, architecture becomes an experimental laboratory interwoven with the rich tapestry of local conditions- a tool in search of new possibilities.

Randall Teal, a Professor and Chair of the Architecture Department at the University of Idaho, is a writer, teacher, painter and designer. Randall has taught at University of Oregon, Southern University, and at Tampere University in Finland; he is the Owner and Principal of Teal Studio which specializes in small-scale design interventions aimed at the design and construction of material intensities and spaces of sensation. Randall’s pedagogical and research interests are in design fundamentals and architectural theory with a significant influence from Continental thought; he teaches theory courses and architectural design studios at all levels. His writing focuses primarily on the pedagogy of creative thinking and aims to understand and promote situated dialogue between critical architectural thinking and the built environment.

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?

Randall Teal is leading an affordable project called Lupine Flats. Offering a refreshing departure from mundane housing developments, Lupine Flats is a partnership between the University of Idaho Architecture Department, the Moscow Affordable Housing Trust (MAHT). The intent of this partnership is to have architecture students design and build a community of six affordable houses. The partnership plans to build one house a year during the spring and summer, until all the houses are completed in 2027.

Madalyn Asker has collaborated on the designing and building of one of these projects, which serves as a generative model for the local context.

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

As the built, unbuilt and unbuildable, architecture is the realm where culture is created, narratives are manifested, and lives are touched. As facilitators, creators, and technicians, architects possess the tools to translate the needs and desires of communities, affecting both individual and collective in practical and emotional terms. Ultimately, it is imperative that we leverage our unique set of skills to empower, sustain, and heal, always believing that a better world is possible.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

Architectural competitions offer a framework for testing ideas. The potentialities of this process catalyze personal growth via the continuous design dialogue found therein, and thus shape new perspectives on evolving creative pursuits.

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

Competitions offer the participants the opportunity to plumb the depths of their architectural ambitions and practice deploying ideas with vision, clarity, and consistency. Further, competitions allow for graphic exploration and creating visual continuity, both of which are key skills of practicing design.

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