Dennis Duku's theatre designHis design of a theatre for the University of Detroit Mercy campus earned an architectural award for VABE grad Dennis Duku.

Architectural design project wins notice for student

His design of a multi-form theatre sited on the University of Detroit Mercy campus has earned a new graduate of the Visual Arts and the Built Environment program recognition from the American Institute of Architects.

Dennis Duku (BA 2018) received the institute’s Michigan Student Project Award for his 54-page thesis, which included a site plan, floor plans, interior and exterior renderings, three-models, and proposals for landscaping, lighting, interior finishes, and mechanical systems.

He says the VABE program — a collaboration between the UWindsor School of Creative Arts and the School of Architecture at the University of Detroit Mercy — was a great fit for his interests.

“I love to draw and VABE’s dual aspect of visual arts and architectural science was perfect for me,” Duku says. “There is no other program like VABE in Ontario.”

He says he appreciated the individualized attention students receive from program co-ordinator Jason Grossi, an architect himself.

“I really appreciated the hands-on help from Prof. Grossi, especially when we were learning to build models. I enjoy tactile learning,” says Duku. “Jason would even stop in to the VABE studio at 3 a.m. when he knew we were working on a project to see how it was going and everyone was okay.”

Duku has also enjoyed real-world experience he earned through a paid internship with the architectural firm SmithGroupJJR, based in downtown Detroit’s historic Guardian Building. He will continue his work there as he enters the master of architecture program at UDM in the fall.

See his project on the VABE website.