Starkville MS -- UL alumnus Miguel LaSala, currently serving as visiting professor at Mississippi State, recently won an international award and a $10,000 prize for his design submission for a site along Australia's Parramatta River foreshore.  Lasala submitted the design, along with his associate, architect Anne-Sophie Demare of Paris, France.  Demare also attended the UL School of Architecture school in 1999, as an exchange student in the UL France Program.

Sydney's Parramatta City Council announced the design competition "Ideas on Edge: Revitalizing Parramatta's River Frontage," calling for a bold and innovative vision for a 2.2-hectare piece of riverfront property in the local dining district. Lasala's entry was cited as best artistic submission.

The competition received more than 150 entries from several countries, including United Arab Emirates, China, Belgium, Netherlands and United Kingdom. The Parramatta City Council is using all ideas submitted to create a functional brief for the site, considering long-term master planning. (For more about the competition click here.)

"I'd say our approach was anything but pragmatic. Instead of being too worried about specifics of the program, we allowed a scheme to grow out of the ideas listed on our boards," Lasala said. The plan he and Demare completed was a 40" X 46" acrylic and graphite painting.

"Instead of using only computer renderings, what you see on our board is rapidly layered hand drawing," he said. "The collages sought to capture the main concepts, without trying to be too realistic, allowing some room for interpretation."

Lasala said he also worked on an international competition in 2008 with EMBT, an architectural firm in Barcelona. He explained the scope was similar to the Parramatta competition, and the experience helped him approach the Parramatta design.

Lasala earned his master's and bachelor's degrees in architecture from the University of Louisiana, and is the son of architecture professor Hector LaSala He currently teaches Architecture Design and Portfolio Design at MSU.

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