On July 30th, 2021, ACE student Md Hoque was selected as a recipient of the prestigious Walter A. Hunt, Jr. Scholarship. This scholarship honors the passing of Walter A. Hunt, Jr., its namesake and benefactor. Hunt’s generosity of spirit and commitment to education live on in the scholarship he established. The award is meant to promote and encourage the study of architecture by New York City public high school students through a two-year scholarship to supplement tuition and related costs during their freshman and sophomore years at a NAAB-accredited school of architecture in the U.S. Md is headed to Syracuse University in the fall.
Recipients of the Walter A. Hunt, Jr. Hunt Scholarship receive an award in the amount of $10,000 per year for two years and are mentored by a committee of Walter A. Hunt, Jr.’s colleagues. The scholarship has the goal of providing scholarship recipients with enhanced educational and career opportunities in architecture. The Walter A. Hunt, Jr. Scholarship is offered by the Center for Architecture, which aims to expand public knowledge about New York City architecture and architects. Housed with the AIA New York Chapter, the Center offers first rate exhibitions, informative programs and educational experiences for K-12 students.
Walter A. Hunt Jr., FAIA, an alumnus of Yale’s School of Architecture, worked at Gensler Architecture Consulting Firm. He led projects such as the development of MGM Mirage’s City Center in Las Vegas and the Heart of Doha project for Msheireb in Qatar. Mr. Hunt was a mentor to students through his service as Co-Chair of the Capital Campaign for the Center for Architecture and President and Board member of the New York Chapter of the AIA. Mr. Hunt left behind a legacy designed to support students like Md Hoque who are passionate about studying architecture.
Applicants were required to submit two essays explaining why they were interested in studying architecture in college and what building in New York City inspired them most. Md’s essay opened with an ode to his youth and being mesmerized by the colorful views atop a hill in Bangladesh. Md envisions architecture as a way of incorporating the beauty of nature through biophilic design. Biophilic design is a concept used within the building industry to increase occupant connectivity to the natural environment using direct nature, indirect nature, and space and place conditions. The essay demonstrated just how in tune Md was with nature and the world around him and painted a vivid portrait of the type of architect he aspires to be. Instead of choosing a building that inspired him, Md chose his favorite architectural design - the Elevated Acre Park in lower Manhattan along the FDR Drive, designed by Ken Smith. The Elevated Acre Park is a one-acre meadow flanked by delightfully designed gardens and plantings elevated above the city streets. The secretive urban oasis features a lawn, an amphitheater, a summer beer garden, winding paths of Brazilian hardwood, spectacular views of the East River, Brooklyn, and the Brooklyn Bridge, and above all, pleasant solitude. This elevated one-acre park is one of Manhattan’s most relaxing secrets.
“DDC is incredibly proud of Md for being selected for the prestigious Walter A. Hunt, Jr. Scholarship. Md is a thoughtful leader who is quick to tackle problems others might find insurmountable. When he saw that the lack of a portfolio was keeping many low-income students from pursuing architecture he helped create a workshop to address that void. Md has a bright future ahead. He is very deserving of this award,” said Deputy Commissioner for STEAM Initiatives Lee Llambelis.
“The hard work and dedication Md showed throughout his participation in the ACE Mentor program since 2019 speaks volumes as to his potential as a future architect. As a result of winning this award he will continue to be surrounded by great mentors and supportive individuals who will help him to thrive as an architect,” stated Gemelli Briceno, Team Leader of ACE Team 8.
“I can honestly say that Md Hoque is one of the best students I have seen pursuing a career in architecture. His work ethic and creative design skills are exceptional. One of Md’s most impressive qualities is his willingness to get involved with all aspects of a design challenge while sharing a collaborative approach with his classmates. Md is deserving of the Walter A. Hunt, Jr. College Scholarship. DDC is so proud of Md and how the STEAM mentoring program is helping NYC students achieve their dreams in the field of architecture, construction, and engineering,” said Oral Selkridge, ACE Team 8 Mentor and Public Buildings Director.
“This opportunity is personally a great boost to have financially. It has also solidified my desire to help others through architecture just like Mr. Hunt,” stated Md Hoque. “So many students’ success relies on whether or not they are able to pay for college. Opportunities for financial assistance are out there to give students a step in the right direction. I am very grateful.”
DDC STEAM and organizations like the Center for Architecture aim to reach to student to expose them to the world of STEAM. Scholarship opportunities like the Walter A. Hunt, Jr. Scholarship allow students from underserved communities the chance to pursue their professional dreams.
About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15.5 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/ddc