Rice Architecture duo honored for tower

The Rice students' winning design of the Kurgi Observation Tower features a porous facade and a "vertical promenade."

The Rice students’ winning design of the Kurgi Observation Tower features a porous facade and a “vertical promenade.” Courtesy of Beixi Zhu and Xi Luo

Two Rice Architecture students got their due for what can fairly be described as a towering achievement.

Beixi Zhu

Beixi Zhu

Xi Luo

Xi Luo

Masters student Beixi Zhu and recent alumnus Xi Luo won the top student award for their design of an observation tower for Kurgi Farm, a horse-breeding farm located in a nature conservation area in Latvia.

The competition organized by Bee Breeders called for a tower no more than 35 meters (about 115 feet) in height, with four open observation floors and a top landing with an enclosed space and outdoor balcony.

From the tower, visitors could observe the farm’s pride, rare Latvian Ardennes horses, as well as the local landscape of lakes, rolling plains and forests. “Appearing in sudden outline, the humble silhouette guides the visitors from afar,” the students wrote in their submission. “The light travels through the body of the tower rendering wooden structure light and transparent.”

See the team’s full entry here.

Grey Peterson, who earned a master’s of architecture at Rice in 2019, won an honorable mention in the competition.

The students' winning design is a "vertical promenade" they say "challenges the traditional recognition of floors." Courtesy of Beixi Zhu and Xi Luo

The students’ winning design is a “vertical promenade” they say “challenges the traditional recognition of floors.” Courtesy of Beixi Zhu and Xi Luo

About Mike Williams

Mike Williams is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.