Three Steel Visions Go Head-to-Head for $10,000--Live on YouTube!

February 10, 2023


CHICAGO - One of three emerging architects’ visions of the future will win $10,000 on March 30--but which will it be?

Tune in live at at 11:30 a.m. Central on March 30 to watch the 2023 Forge Prize finalists present their ideas to the judges!

The American Institute of Steel Construction’s annual Forge Prize competition celebrates emerging architects who create visionary designs that embrace steel as the primary structural component while exploring ways to increase project speed.

“Every year, people from around the world tune in to watch the final Forge Prize presentations,” said Alex Morales, AISC’s senior structural specialist leading the competition. “At its heart, this competition is about inspiration and vision--it’s about dreams. In the second phase of the competition, the finalists are working with a steel fabricator to refine what would be involved in bringing that dream to life as only steel can. We can’t wait to see what they’ve come up with!”

The three finalists have all taken home $5,000 from the first round--and one of them will win the grand prize and an invitation to present before an audience of industry innovators at NASCC: The Steel Conference.

Which will it be? There’s only one way to find out! Join the American Institute of Steel Construction on YouTube at 11:30 a.m. Central on March 30.

Electric Oasis

There’s the rapidly deployable Electric Oasis concept, which would reimagine existing gas stations as charging hubs for electric vehicles that use bio-remediative aeration to clean up ethanol contamination from old fuel storage tanks. LVL (Level) Studio collaborators Christopher Taurasi, Lexi White, and Jeffrey Lee are working with Schuff Steel Senior Vice President Christopher Crosby to refine this idea.

Adaptive Micro Cities

The Adaptive Micro Cities design would revitalize a small island in a Portland, Ore., industrial zone with a self-sustaining virtual community with separate zones where people can live, work, and play all brought together with a series of modular boxes. Masamichi Ikeda and Junior Carbajal (both of JRMA Architects Engineers) are working with Alpha Iron President and CEO James Buchan in the second phase of the competition.


The Trans-connect idea embraces the future of transportation with a plan for a multi-modal transportation hub for everything from high-speed trains to electric airplanes. Then Le of the Huntsman Architectural Group has teamed up with Zimkor President Casey Brown to further develop the technical aspects of the design for a site in San Francisco.

Additional photos of all three finalists are available here.

About the judges

Melanie Harris, AIA, LSSYB, NCARB, is currently the national healing practice director at BSA LifeStructures. Harris became passionate about peoples' wellbeing at age 15, when her mother died of cancer. However, instead of pursuing a career in medicine, she devoted herself to architecture for healing. She has worked with clients like MD Anderson Cancer Center since she earned her master's degree from Texas A&M University in 2006. She joined HOK's Houston healthcare team in 2014 and, in 2017, transitioned to lead HOK's healthcare practice in central Florida. She started as BSA's principal for Tampa in 2020 before moving into her current role as national healing practice director.

Sean Joyner, Southwest regional communications strategist at Gensler, is a writer and essayist based in Los Angeles. He previously served as an adjunct professor and director of communications at Woodbury University, where he received his Bachelor of Architecture degree. Joyner's essays and articles typically explore themes spanning history, pop culture, and philosophy and how they connect to the field of architecture, though his topics of exploration vary widely. Before launching his career in writing, Joyner worked in several firms as a designer and project leader, primarily on K-12 and some higher education work.

Rona G Rothenberg, FAIA, DBIA, is the president of AIA California. She brings decades of experience from more than 200 government, industry, healthcare, and higher education projects. In 2020, she received AIA’s Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture. She has been a program and project management leader within public and private sector institutions for the past 35 years, including two decades in California state and local government. She has provided executive level leadership in master planning, design and construction delivery of over 200 institutional projects in multiple programs in government, industry, health care and higher education. Over her career, she has contributed to AIA national, state and local Board and committee leadership in justice and community-based projects as a city planning commissioner and in government and nonprofit board appointments. She is a devoted mentor, serving as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow of the College of Environmental Design of UC Berkeley and in local public school STEAM programs in Oakland, Calif., as well as through AIACA and national pipeline programs.


For more information contact:

Dani Friedland
Director of Marketing Communications

American Institute of Steel Construction

The American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a non-partisan, not-for-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry. AISC's mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural steel-related technical and market-building activities, including specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, market development, and advocacy. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information. 

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