Three students from the University of Maryland architecture program claimed the top three spots in the first-ever TCA/PCA Storm Housing 2007, a Tilt-Up Concrete Association- and Portland Cement Association- sponsored international competition that seeks conceptual designs for a storm-resistant housing complex along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

"We were overwhelmed by the amount and quality of the responses," says Jim Baty, technical director of TCA. "Bringing their ingenuity and new ideas to the table, these talented students responded to this challenge of creating storm housing in a way that many in the tilt-up industry may not have been able to envision."

The program had a total of 141 students and faculty from 30 colleges and universities register for the competition, and a total of 56 entries were received. Entries were judges by a four-person panel—three of whom were architects.

First-place honors went to Jonathan McKearin, an architecture graduate student at the University of Maryland. Using tilt-up concrete panels, McKearin's design includes townhomes with overlapping, interlocking volumes of bold color. Using a central courtyard concept, the design emphasizes the individual homes while managing to integrate each piece as part of the whole community.

Ritsaart Marcelis nabbed second place with a project that uses tilt-up panels in combination with recycled steel frame walls, floor, and roof assemblies. Marcelis raised the 20 homes above flood level and used various customizable options and deep overhangs to protect the southern exposures.

The third-place spot went to graduate student Artur Marques Kalil, whose homes address the street with front porches. Kalil's homes sit on "stilts," protecting the houses from storm surges and providing a place for garages and storage. Decorative punched openings in the ground floor provide ventilation, while large street-side windows bring in light. "Judges noted that this was a simple but elegant solution for storm housing that is essentially a modern adaptation of the traditional two-story front porch," the TCA says. "The simplicity of the solution also makes it a realistic design response to replacement for the region."

The groups say this year's awards program was so successful that they will sponsor another competition next year.

View the Kalil design board

View the Marcelis design board

View the McKearin design board