Large crowded public space with trees, and steps leading up to the roof.

The proposal, Roots, is a scheme to create a green gateway for the future Obama Presidential Library in Chicago, while also giving back to the surrounding Woodlawn Community.



William Baptiste
Xuecheng Ca
Liangying Chen
Joenette Cobb
Michael Hoover
Elias Kotzambasis
Evan Martinez
Unnati Patel



NOMAS Competition 2018

The National Organization of Minority Architecture Students’ (NOMAS) annual competition receives proposals from teams across the country. This year, the entry submitted by the UB chapter won first place.

The team identified a list of issues, ranging from food access to job training, and sought to create a proposal that addresses the core needs of the community. The project is designed to provide employment, health services, education programs and housing at the heart of the Woodlawn neighborhood.

NOMAS has a certain familial relationship about it… the solidarity of the team is amazing.

– Elias Kotzambasis, MArch

Integrated urban agriculture is one of the pivotal components in achieving these goals. Access to healthy food is important for everyone, especially in places where there are high rates of diet-related health problems. It can also offer agriculture based training and reentry opportunities for different people in the community – children, students, ex-offenders and families in ways that can change negative perceptions. Plantings also consume carbon dioxide throughout the life of the building, and produce grown and harvested from the gardens can be sold and prepared in local markets and restaurants. Organic waste can be composted on site and redistributed for gardens in the neighborhood.

Designed on the basis of a ten-year plan to develop facilities and transform 63rd. Street into a greenway, the project would serve as a means to connect, embolden, and empower the Woodlawn community. The compelling proposal and top honor are indicative of the team behind the drawings. A natural crossroads for students from all years, UB NOMAS has built itself upon a culture of peer mentoring, and passing knowledge from one generation to the next. The connection of the group has eclipsed its origins in advocating for minorities, growing into a platform for all people from which issues of inclusion and representation can be addressed and spoken to.