Youth & Opportunity United

Architect: Studio Talo Architecture

Location: Evanston, Illinois

Category E: Exemplary Use in a Small Firm

Award Citation

The project was the design of the headquarter office and program building of a non-profit youth development and advocacy organization.

Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.), a 45-year-old non-profit, youth development agency requested renderings of their new headquarters for a community outreach and fund-raising campaign. The architects understood that the youth, not the building, needed to be the campaign's focus, so they created multiple 360-degree virtual reality video renderings of spaces in the building, populated with video avatars of young people served by the organization acting as tour guides, explaining how Y.O.U. and the new building would impact their lives. Through the dynamic video rendering, community members and donors experienced Y.O.U's mission, rather than just their plans.

Download the Youth & Opportunity United award entry PDF >

Additional information

Structural engineer: Matrix Engineering

MEP engineers: The Engineering Studio Inc.

Landscape architect: Kettelkamp & KettelKamp

Furniture selection: Designs for Dignity

Structural engineer: Matrix Engineering

Contractor: Leopardo Construction

Videographer: Jason Beaumont Productions

Owner's representative: Project Management Advisors Inc.


Ken Sanders, FAIA (Chair), Gensler, San Francisco

Heather Burpee, University of Washington, Seattle

Ian O’Cain, AIA, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple Architects, New Orleans

Greg Gidez, AIA, Hensel Phelps Construction, Greeley, Colorado

Pierce Reynoldson, Skanska, New York City

Jury comments

"A compelling story of bringing youth engagement into architecture through the use of VR - love the teachability of this experience for both the architect and the youth. “[The architect’s] beautiful designs and virtual reality truly made our Campaign launch so much more engaging and exciting for our youth and families. In a very real way, [they] brought our vision to life, one year early." Put together really well in terms of demonstrating the workflow. The end product looks amazing! Creative solution. Very creative use of technology, low cost, high impact; Good next step beyond the interactive panoramas available in Revit. Inclusion of local context and the kids that the nonprofit benefit makes interactive panoramas more appealing to potential donors and community members. Really like the low-cost, accessible approach. The use of VR by a small firm on a non-profit project is a good story. Reminds us there are affordable paths to VR, particularly for stakeholder and user groups who need more than plans and renderings to understand a proposed design."

Image credits

YOU _TALO_StreetRender

Studio Talo Architecture


Studio Talo Architecture


Studio Talo Architecture


Studio Talo Architecture