DIS Alumni Brian Vargo Wins Big in NEW ARCHH Competition

DIS Alumnus Brain Vargo, together with his team at Vargo Neilsen Palle, have won the NEW AARCH Competition for Denmark’s first purpose-built Architecture school! They will now lead the design team of the Aarhus School of Architecture and the neighboring area.

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The judges of the competition had anticipated selecting three different designs from various high profile architecture teams, including BIG, Lacaton & Vassal, and SANAA, but were so impressed with Vargo Neilsen Palle’s pitch that they acknowledged their design as the sole winner.

Upon reflecting on his accomplishment, Vargo feels honored and fortunate to be chosen as the winner. He credits his achievement partly towards the generosity of Cal Poly and DIS in contributing to his studies in Scandinavian architecture and design.

When asked how Vargo’s understanding of Scandinavia design influenced his design-thinking, he said:

“I think Scandinavian design and design-thinking are actually synonymous. Scandinavian culture tends to afford more patience and attention to the design process, where the best idea wins regardless of who it comes from. That seems so simple, but it’s a beautiful thought that should always guide designers. For me, Scandinavian design is an exercise in this dedicated “design-thinking” above all else – it is the spirit of challenging ideas at every step, no matter what the consequences, to find a concept you didn’t expect from the beginning. That’s how we won this competition.”

Vargo studied in the Architecture & Design Program as a full year DIS student in Fall 2009 and Spring 2010. He received his Bachelor of Architecture from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California and went on to study at Harvard University, where he obtained his Master’s degree in Design Studies.

Vargo is looking forward to whatever step is next – both in this project and beyond. He’s proud that this project will always revolve around not only his vision—but also the vision of the community—as to create a legacy that can last a lifetime!

Vargo offered advice to prospective architects, saying that:

“My favorite part about this project is that it balances so many different interests with a limited budget and high aspirations. When we can do more with less, we create real value. That’s what architecture should do for the world, and that’s the type of attitude a school of architecture should encourage.”

Congratulations on this fantastic achievement, Brian!

>> Read more about this design competition and its outcomes here.


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