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r[EVOLUTION] in Design: Exploring the Convergence of AI, Computational Design, and the 'Third Place'

The central theme for the 2023 program seeks to push the boundaries of design proficiency and exploration. This year's Medalists, Jonathan Warner, Joshua Vermillion, and Nero Chenxuan He, will bring their unique experiences and perceptions on the emerging topics of Ai, computational design, and the enigmatic 'third place,' as they venture beyond the traditional confines of architectural education and practice.

Meet the 2023 Design Medalists
Jonathan Warner

A creative director at FTR (FUTURE) and co-founder of Seemingly Virtual, Jonathan Warner bridges the realms of architecture and cutting-edge technologies. A former Hanbury Summer Scholar (2018), his architectural background and passion for pushing creative boundaries has carved a distinct niche in 3D world-building, creative direction, and web3 integration. Jonathan's nuanced perspective lends a unique dimension to the construction of immersive 3D experiences. With a keen eye for visual identity and an innovative approach to brand interactions, he re-imagines spatial branding within virtual environments. Jonathan's artistic visions have been influential in collaborations with industry giants such as PUMA and YEEZY, and he continues to foster an inclusive community of designers through his startup, DEEPOBJECTS.AI, where he explores the fusion of AI innovation and global collaboration. His work has garnered recognition from prestigious publications such as Vogue Business and Business of Fashion, establishing him as a rising force in the creative industry.

Joshua Vermillion

As a tenured Associate Professor in the School of Architecture at UNLV, Joshua Vermillion has dedicated his career to exploring and advancing "Digital Craft." His research, pedagogy, and practice revolve around three primary categories: digital information as a medium, encompassing computational, parametric, and algorithmic design; digital information as material, involving digital fabrication tools and techniques; and digital information as a method, exploring the realms of situated technologies, responsive systems, and robotics.

Joshua's influence extends beyond academia, presenting peer-reviewed research at conferences such as ACADIA, SIGRADI, eCAADe, ACSA, NCBDS, and ARCC, along with publications in the International Journal of Architecture Computing. Joshua is also a co-editor of two books, "Digital Design Exercises for Architecture Students" (Routledge, 2016) and "Bottom-Up Social Change Symposium Proceedings" (ACSA Press, 2020). He has served as Graduate Coordinator and Assistant Director for the School of Architecture and in 2017 received the Fielden Medal for contributions of excellence to architectural education.

Nero Chenxuan He

A Beijing-born educator, designer, and digital artist, Nero Chenxuan He leads a creative practice with a global reach. Currently teaching studio and seminars at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Nero was previously a collaborator at Testa & Weiser, a Los Angeles-based architecture and design studio and taught at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc).

Nero’s expertise lies in developing workflows for physical constructions and automavisions, exploring the creation of quasi-autonomous procedures to re-see and upcycle through a non-human-centric perspective. He has shared his expertise as a guest lecturer at various institutions, including the recent Speculative Design Lecture Series at Bartlett UCL. Nero's impressive career includes work at prestigious firms like Zaha Hadid Architects, Information Based Architecture, and Wei Architects. Notably, he collaborated with Dream the Combine for the 2018 MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program (YAP), winning the competition and earning the opportunity to construct the architectural installation, "Hide & Seek," in the courtyard of MoMA PS1. Nero holds a Bachelor of Sciences in Architecture from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Architecture degree from SCI-Arc.


The 2023 program kicks off on August 3 and runs through August 11, featuring keynote presentations and opportunities for informal meetings between the Medalists and various groups within the office, both in-person and virtually.

As Hanbury continues to embrace the spirit of exploration and collaboration, the Virginia Design Medalist program exemplifies the firm's commitment to pushing the boundaries of design and nurturing the next generation of design talent. Together, we look forward to a transformative and enlightening 2023 VDM program!