National U student wins Nippon Asia Young Designer Award 2016

National University architecture student Maria Rebecca Plaza took home the gold in the 2016 Nippon Asia Young Designer Award held last November 24 at the EDSA ShangRi-la Hotel in Mandaluyong City.

25-year old Plaza bested nine other finalists from University of Sto. Tomas, Bulacan State University, University of Mindanao, Holy Angel University and Technological University of the Philippines.

As the Gold winner, Plaza will receive P50,000 cash, 6-month internship program at Aidea, Inc., a trip to Yogyakarta, Indonesia for a once in a lifetime Learning Programme and an opportunity to represent the Philippines in the Regional AYDA 2016 competition where she will compete against 13 other countries.

By bagging the gold, Plaza also won for National U the Best University and Best Professor award. Each category goes with P10,000 cash prize.

Plaza proposed and presented “Project NOAH” which is a penal colony and drug rehab center with farming components and eco-tourism features. She explained how she came up with the project.

“I came up with the idea as a response to the bigger issues in the country right now. So it’s a drug rehab facility, mixed with farming. Three issues in our country are, one, what do we do with the drug abusers, two, food security and three the aging agricultural population. The average farmer is 57 years old so it’s really a problem so I put the three problems together to come up with a solution.” Plaza shared.

Plaza is also beyond excited to represent not just National U but also the Philippines.

“I will make NU proud. I’m not going to promise anything but other than the fact that I will do what I can to make the school proud and to really represent what the teachers teach us, so that’s good quality design for sustainable living.” Plaza ended.

One of the finalists, NU student Marchie Theodoro Borja also took home P10,000 cash prize. “Every competition is an experience so if you lose or if you win, it is still an experience and every stage is a step for you to learn.” Borja said.

NU College of Architecture Dean Chona Ponce shared her happiness in the recent peat. “I’m so proud of the NU students and even the judges can tell you na magaling talaga sila during the oral deliberation and presentation.”

Plaza will undergo mentoring and her project will be improved in preparation for the Regional AYDA competition which is set in 2017.