Three emerging architects will compete for $10,000 in what promises to be a very inspiring YouTube event.

The American Institute of Steel Construction has selected three finalists for The Forge Prize, which celebrates emerging architects who create visionary designs that embrace steel as the primary structural component to increase project speed.

“With the Forge Prize, we eliminated all constraints to creativity,” said Alex Morales, Associate AIA, LEED GA, AISC’s Structural Steel Specialist for the Houston market, who leads the Forge Prize program. “The Forge Prize presents emerging architects with an opportunity, on a national platform, to be forward-thinking, daring, and innovative in design proposals that highlight the dynamic characteristics of structural steel and how their visions may fit into our buildings of the future. Our three finalists took full advantage of this creative freedom and I’m excited to see what they do next.”

On May 13, they will present their designs to a jury of outstanding architects, with a handsome cash prize at stake for the most promising revolutionary idea. Tune in to at 12:45 p.m. Central to join the fun.

About the designs

The three final designs are very different from one another, but they all offer intriguing visions for the future.

Ilgar Aziz of SBLM Architects proposed the Twig Structural System of organically inspired, modular structural steel components that can be used as load-bearing columns or simply as art installations.

Aziz will work with Cast Connex to further develop the design, which “moves outside of conventional methods of steel construction and proposes advantages to both shop and field work through modularization and repetition of connections,” said Cast Connex Vice President Jennifer Anna Pazdon, PE.

“Close collaboration between engineers, architects, and builders at the outset of a project leads to the best outcome,” Pazdon said. “With the Forge Prize, we’re able to practice this best-practice for future realizations.”

Daphne M. Florán-Meléndez of Lockwood, Andrews, & Newnam, Inc. designed a pedestrian multi-purpose complex that would rejuvenate an abandoned Tallahassee site, using steel-framed housing units that are stackable so the complex can grow vertically as needed.

Floran will work with SteelFab, Inc. on the next stage of the competition. “Any opportunity to work alongside architects to showcase what steel construction has to offer is great for the steel construction business as a whole,” said SteelFab, Inc. Texas Division Vice President Darren J. Cook.

Rosannah Harding and Matthew Ostrow of HardingOstrow created a design for a striking cantilevered footbridge and elevated park that relies on the inherent strength of plate steel and the weather-resistant properties of hardy weathering steel.

Ostrow and Harding will work with STS Steel, Inc. to refine the concept. “I am looking forward to working with Matt and Rosannah to help them achieve their vision of a unique and delicate structure that enhances the pedestrian’s experience in this vibrant and evolving area of Manhattan,” STS Steel, Inc. President Glenn R. Tabolt, PE, said. “I find it inspiring to work with creative architects who find new ways to enhance our experience in the built environment.”