CityLab-Orlando Students Awarded OFA Scholarships

By: Kyle Niblett

University of Florida College of Design, Construction and Planning students Alex Karimipour and Jimmy Delvalle were each awarded student scholarships from the Orlando Foundation for Architecture in recognition of their connective, sustainable projects and diverse approach to design and planning. An initiative spanning longer than three decades, OFA’s scholarship program has accumulated more than $300,000 and supports students in their professional endeavors.

“The Orlando Foundation for Architecture (OFA), in cooperation with the Orlando Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Orlando), is pleased to have developed a synergistic partnership with UF CityLab-Orlando,” said OFA Executive Director Gary Scarboro, CAE. “This partnership enables 360-degree benefits for all of the organizations, including scholarship assistance for participants in CityLab, internship opportunities for both students and firms, joint academic and urban design projects, involvement of all groups and individuals in real progress and improvements through the power of collaborative design in Orlando and surrounding communities.”

Karimipour received a $4,000 scholarship for being a first-year student at UF CityLab-Orlando. His work is best defined as an expression of a conceptual ideal that is both poetic and pragmatic, rooted to its context and respective of local vernacular. Using architecture as a story-telling medium fuels his desire to create place.

“I came to understand what makes a good design (among others) is the details,” Karimipour explained. “Details that no one may ever notice, but all contribute to an overall story. In that moment I was reconnected with my long fascination of storytelling and design – the stories it can tell; the people it can bring together.”

Delvalle earned a $5,000 scholarship and is in the final year of the 2+2+2 program, pursuing a Master’s of Architecture in addition to a Themed Environments Integration Grad Certificate at UF CityLab-Orlando. The licensed architect aims to elevate the human experience by implementing themed environment designs, which made him an easy choice for the scholarship, said UF School of Architecture Adjunct Professor Brittany Gacsy.

“Jimmy has an undeniable passion for learning and an appetite to develop his skill sets as an aspiring architect,” Gacsy said. “His thirst for learning combined with his positive attitude makes him a wonderful addition to the academic environment. Jimmy’s personal achievements combined with his outstanding character makes him an ideal candidate for any scholarship.”

Overall, UF CityLab-Orlando is very appreciative of the support from the OFA and AIA-Orlando. “These scholarships reinforce the relationship between Valencia, UCF and UF by recognizing and rewarding students who follow the 2+2+2 path to their Master’s degree,” said Stephen Bender, UF instructional associate professor and program director for UF CityLab-Orlando. “It helps these young architects contribute to their class, community and profession along the way.”

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