2019 Propel Studio Award for Design Excellence awarded to Robert Wilson
Author: Karen O'Donnell Stein
Posted: July 25, 2019

Robert Wilson, a recent Portland State University Master of Architecture graduate, has been named the recipient of the Propel Studio Award for Design Excellence for 2019. This annual award comes with a $500 prize and an invitation to the recipient to visit the Propel Studio office and present his or her work to the firm. 

The Propel Studio Award honors a graduating Master of Architecture candidate selected by School of Architecture faculty. The selected honoree must demonstrate a consistent high level of design excellence across their graduate studio experience. 

Wilson, who holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from University of Colorado at Boulder, entered PSU’s 3-year Master of Architecture degree program in 2016, having become fascinated with the discipline while working for a small architecture firm following graduation. “I firmly believe that design can change the world for the better, and I am motivated by the idea that the spaces we inhabit can help to foster engaged communities full of happy, healthy individuals,” said Wilson. Now armed with his graduate degree, he enters the job market with the intention of earning his architectural license and gain the skills necessary to become a project architect. 

“Rob's work does a great job at blending an exploration in the architecture of a specific building while also considering the urban impacts his design would have on its surroundings,” said Lucas Gray, principal of Propel Studio. “Understanding urban design and how buildings will impact pedestrians, traffic, and other issues is incredibly important for successful architecture. It is also something that we focus on at Propel Studio.”

“Propel Studio’s enthusiasm in creating the prize for graduate-level design excellence betrays the kind of leadership that values the imaginative speculations of architecture school for their contributions to the practice community,” commented Clive Knights, School of Architecture director. 

“We started the Propel Studio Award to engage and support the next generation of architects and designers,” Gray commented. “We understand that the process of becoming an architect is long, difficult and costly. This award is just one small way for us to help someone along that path. It also gives us the opportunity to meet and learn from some of the top design students while identifying potential future employees, helping us to grow as a company.” 

Gray continued, “We want our firm to be a place that is known for design excellence. Supporting this award helps us reinforce our values and belief that design excellence is a vital part of our profession and the value architects provide to clients.”

PSU Master of Architecture candidate William Chandler (2017) and Lisa Patterson (2018) received the award in the first and second years of the prize.

About Propel Studio: Propel Studio Architecture focuses on residential projects of all scales, creative commercial developments, and public interest design. Their team is dedicated to working with inspiring people and organizations to create architecture that is beautiful and sustainable. With each project, they look to the triple bottom line – environment, economics, and people – to develop creative solutions for each design challenge. Along with their design work, they are dedicated to supporting the next generation of architects and designers through their involvement with PSU. You can learn more about Propel Studio and their work at

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