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UrbanEden Among Favorites in Statewide Competition

UNC Charlotte’s UrbanEden, built for the 2013 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, placed third in the people’s choice voting for the annual Matsumoto Prize for Modernist residential design in North Carolina. People’s Choice Award winners were selected by 1,200 individuals in an online vote.

The Matsumoto Prize is named in honor of George Matsumoto, a founding faculty member at the N.C. State University School of Design (now College of Design) who is well known for many exemplary mid-century Modernist houses he designed across North Carolina.

Faculty and students from three different areas, the School of Architecture, the Lee College of Engineering and the Belk College of Business, comprised the UrbanEden design and construction team. Support for the designing and building of the house came from a broad array of University units, as well as many private and corporate funders, including Duke Energy and Ingersoll Rand.

Engineering Professor Creates Inspiring Artwork

Recently, a painting of an SR-71 Mach 3 jet was added to the stairwell in Duke Centennial. It is the latest creation by Peter Tkacik, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and engineering science in the William States Lee College of Engineering.

Tkacik’s artistic pursuits are a hobby, but he sees them as a source of inspiration for engineering students as they learn more about their future profession. "I sketched growing up, and I've found it to be a valuable skill as an engineer," said Tkacik. "I say that I do pencil CAD; I can draw a design in three-dimension so others can see it."

Tkacik's rendering of the SR-71 is based upon several photographs of the long-range Mach 3 reconnaissance aircraft. The plane is depicted high above the Earth with stars in the background and hangs 40 feet above the marble floor.