Nicholas Coates is the recipient of the prestigious 2015 SOM Prize, a $50,000 travel and research fellowship.
He received a Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech in May 2015, where he was awarded the Phi Kappa Phi Medallion for being the top graduating senior from the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. He was also the recipient of the Henry Adams AIA Medal and Certificate for his academic achievement, the Alpha Rho Chi Medal for outstanding leadership, and was a finalist for the highly competitive Pella Thesis Prize.
Growing up in southwest Virginia, Nick is from a small town in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. He is an avid pursuer of architecture, completing a semester of studies at the Center for European Studies and Architecture in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland. Domestically, Nick spent a semester in Chicago in the office of von Weise Associates as part of the Chicago Studio, an interdisciplinary group of Virginia Tech students embedded within firms in the city, striking a balance between practice and academia.
Teaching has always been central to his own understanding of architecture, utilizing every opportunity possible to help others push their own ideas and knowledge. Nick has interned at Columbia University in their Summer High School Program, serving as a teaching assistant for an introductory architecture course as well as leading a team tasked with representing the multiple facets of the program through a variety of media types. Recently, Nick assisted in teaching Inside Architecture + Design at Virginia Tech, a program that introduces architecture and design to high school students through the act of making.
Nick will travel to regions on two continents, carrying out his winning research proposal on the topic, “The Corner: A Marker of the New, A Memory of the Past.” As Nick explains, “When articulated carefully, a corner forms an introduction to a new set of conditions: it expresses the dynamic moment, initiating a shift in perspective. Both from an urban spatial point of view and through the material of the building itself, an architect is always presented with an opportunity to direct a beautiful turn.” He became interested in this topic while visiting Brion Cemetery in Italy during his fourth year studies abroad and sees the fellowship as an opportunity to “tie together broader questions of movement, spatial sequencing, and memory.”
Nick plans to continue his studies in the future by attending graduate school, enabling him to develop and test ideas through a new lens.