CCA Interior Design Student Awarded $30,000 Donghia Scholarship Award

CCA Interior Design student Eric Rogers has been named a finalist in the 2012 Donghia Student Scholarship Award in Interior Design competition.

Rogers is among a select group of 13 faculty-recommended students from a pool of more than 200 applicants representing accredited universities, colleges, and schools across the United States and Canada to win this year's Donghia Award, which offers each finalist a scholarship award of up to $30,000!

Previous CCA Awardees

And with this year's award, Rogers becomes the fourth CCA Interior Design student in five years to receive the honor: Breanne Bumanlag (BFA 2010) and Ginny Uyesugi (BFA 2010 ) received the Donghia Award in 2009; and Kalie Lewis (BFA 2008) received the notable honor in 2007.

"I am not surprised that Donghia [Foundation] recognized Eric for his unique design approach," praised Interior Design chair Cathrine Veikos. "His passion for ameliorating public space and fostering community through design is manifest in this excellent project.

"I expect that he will be a forerunner in an emerging specialization that lies at the intersection of urban design and interior design -- exactly the kind of design opportunities we uncover in the interdisciplinary environment at CCA."

"Introducing students to diverse audiences and subjects that engage their emerging expertise as interior designers has been a focus of the advanced studios I teach," explained Interior Design faculty member Amy Campos. "In the second of a series of Interior Urbanism studios, Eric stood out from day one as an extremely intelligent student who could take this larger-scale discussion on at an advanced level.

"He was genuinely engaged in the topic all semester and brought a truly unique contribution to the discussion of the studio. Working with exceptional students, like Eric, on challenging projects like these makes teaching incredibly rewarding. It was a proud moment for all of the Interior Design faculty who have worked with Eric to see him nationally recognized by such an esteemed award."

Read related feature about Amy Campos »

About the Donghia Award

The Donghia Award Program is made possible through the Angelo Donghia Foundation. The national design competition benefits deserving interior design students who are entering their senior year with a significant financial award intended to pay their senior-year tuition, board and maintenance, and books and materials.

"I'm still astonished by the generosity of the Donghia Foundation for offering such a huge award," says 2009 awardee Uyesugi. "It is a great feeling to be able to spend your final year in design school focusing on your craft and not worrying about your finances." (Uyesugi currently works as a designer at Orlando Diaz-Azcuy Design Associates in San Francisco.)

Submission Process

Begun in 2001, is a national design competition All nominees are required to submit a portfolio consisting of either one residential or one nonresidential design. Students are encouraged to submit drawings that show a comprehensive spatial approach to their design solutions.

Additionally, the students are encouraged to show work that illustrates a range of the student’s skills such as 3D computer renderings, along with hand renderings as well as hand-drawn process or concept sketches where appropriate. Student submissions are juried based on merit by judges composed of leading interior designers, press, and educators.

The Winning Project

Regarding Roger's winning entry -- the Montgomery transit station in downtown San Francisco (see slideshow above) -- Rogers had this to say: “This Deleuze-inspired reconceptualization of the Montgomery transit station in downtown San Francisco is vehement anti-capitalism wrapped in the rhetoric of urban renewal and architecture.

"It just seemed appropriate to design a source of contagious abundance in the middle of the Financial District, where everything is artificially made scarce: time, space, sunlight, warmth, clean air, genuine friendship, pleasant public spaces, free activities.

"Anyway, in design, you can’t just say ‘down with capitalism,’ so instead you say ‘up with human beings.’ It’s basically the same thing. Everything we desire is here already; we just need systems that connect desires to their fulfillment. Good architecture orients itself to this mandate. It facilitates connection.”

From Director of Architecture Ila Berman: "To expand the potential of interior design to encompass the many different scales of occupation operating within the city was one of the objectives of the studio, and something that Eric capitalized on in the development of his project."

What It Means to Win the Donghia Scholarship

"Winning the Donghia scholarship gave me more confidence in my work, which has always been highly critical and controversial," explained Rogers. "The Donghia scholarship brought attention to my work, which has exposed me to some of the faculty who I have subsequently formed relationships with." He added, "The award has also given credibility to my propaganda, which is helpful."

Rogers doesn't take what he's learned at CCA -- or who he's learned if from -- for granted: "CCA helped me to prepare for this award by providing me with excellent guidance from faculty and rich relationships with talented peers. My studio mates are all very talented designers, and I learn a lot from them every day. The studio culture at CCA encourages us to converge on campus and to share ideas across disciplines."

With such a strong student community at CCA, it's little surprise other students have gone to Rogers for advice and theoretical discussion, which he describes as "rich and fulfilling."

Faculty Influence Pays Off

Rogers, a transfer student, also acknowledges being guided toward CCA: "I would not have come to CCA if it hadn't have been for Rebecca Katkin." Katkin, an Interior Design faculty member and member of his Junior Review jury, was instrumental in helping Rogers transfer to CCA, where his "interests would be fostered." He credits her and faculty member Megan Werner for pushing his conceptual and theoretical frameworks, including advising him on how to edit his Donghia submission.

"Amy Campos played a very key role in my education, and I owe much of the progress that I made in the last year to her instruction. The project that won the Donghia award was developed under her close guidance. In many ways I see the honor of the Donghia award as being hers, since she was so involved in the creation of the project."

Rogers also describes faculty member Clifford Minnick's encouragement, advice, and experience as "indispensable in shaping my ideas as a designer."

Outside the Interior Design faculty, Rogers has appreciated his discussions with Architecture faculty member Mona El Khafif, whose "engagements with social, political, and cultural issues are necessarily the future of architectural discourse ... ."

"Eric is an extremely talented designer with a very sharp intellect," conveyed Berman. "We’re proud of his accomplishments and have no doubt that he will have a very promising professional future in the field."

About the Angelo Donghia Foundation

The Angelo Donghia Foundation, established by the late Angelo Donghia, an internationally recognized interior design icon and source of inspiration to the design world, is a private, nonprofit organization that supports two distinct fields: the advancement of education in the field of interior design, and initiatives researching AIDS.

About CCA's Interior Design Program

In CCA’s Interior Design Program you’ll explore materials and space as you’re challenged to create beautiful, functional spaces that merge environmental, social, and architectural elements. You’ll learn how to design interiors that transform organizations, change communities, and make a lasting impression.

Learn more about CCA's Interior Design Program »