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UT Arlington wins honorable mention at EPA's first-ever Campus RainWorks Challenge

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

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Media Contact: Bridget Lewis, Office:817-272-3317, Cell:214-577-9094, blewis@uta.edu

News Topics: architecture, environment, students, sustainability

A University of Texas at Arlington design aimed at solving the campus’ stormwater runoff problems while defining an attractive campus edge earned an honorable mention at the Environmental Protection Agency’s first-ever Campus RainWorks Challenge.

Campus RainWorks Challenge

Landscape architecture graduate students, Kent Elliott and Blake Samper, competed against 217 other student teams from 42 states in the challenge, which encouraged teams to develop innovative green infrastructure systems that lessen the impacts of urban stormwater while supporting sustainable communities.

Stormwater is one of the most widespread challenges to water quality in the nation. Large volumes of stormwater pollute streams, rivers and lakes, posing a threat to human health and the environment and contribute to downstream flooding.

The students’ design replaces impervious surface parking with increased tree canopy and vegetation, while also adding campus rain gardens, green roofs, a rain barrel-staircase, vegetated swales, “hydrowalls,” vegetated terraces, permeable paving and an aqueduct.

The entry proposes an attractive campus edge by providing buildings with museums, exhibit spaces, research facilities, student housing and structural parking.  Their entry was recognized for its exceptionally creative video. Watch the video here

“The entries were unique and they communicated campus landscape and stormwater issues in a way that the public can understand and appreciate,” said Taner Özdil, faculty advisor and assistant professor in the UT Arlington School of Architecture. “The competition highlights the inventive and technical expertise of landscape architects who are able to provide sustainable solutions, visually appeal to a broad audience and engage them to experience the complex nature and beauty of our environment.”

Özdil noted that Elliott and Samper undertook the competition as part of a design studio project in their Landscape Architecture program last fall.

In addition to UT Arlington, honorable mentions went to California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, Kansas State University and Columbia University. First place winners were Illinois Institute of Technology and The University of Florida. See the full list of winners at http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/greeninfrastructure/crw_winners.cfm.

The American Society of Landscape Architects, the Water Environment Federation and the American Society of Civil Engineers reviewed the entries. The winning teams were selected based on six criteria: analysis and planning, preservation or restoration of natural features, integrated water management, soil and vegetation management, value to campus and likelihood of implementation.

Green infrastructure helps communities to maintain healthy waters, support sustainable communities and provide multiple environmental benefits. Green infrastructure captures and filters pollutants by passing stormwater through soils and retaining it on site. Examples of effective green infrastructure include green roofs, permeable materials, alternative designs for streets and buildings, trees, rain gardens and rain.

About The University of Texas at Arlington and the School of Architecture

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more than 33,800 students and 2,200 faculty members in the heart of North Texas and the second largest member of The University of Texas System. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.

The UT Arlington School of Architecture offers professionally accredited and internationally recognized degrees in ArchitectureInterior Design and Landscape Architecture.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.