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$52K grant empowers ASU students to solve real-world design questions

A student team's idea of creative use of Sun Devil Stadium.

Last year, The Design School’s Interdisciplinary Cluster Competition asked students to reinvent the idea of a stadium as a “third space” (a social space separate from work and home).

December 13, 2017

Milagros Zingoni and Wil Heywood, professors in The Design School in the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, received $52,500 from ASU alumnus Jack Furst and Isaac Manning, manager of the Sun Devil Stadium renovation project for ASU, to expand the school’s Interdisciplinary Cluster Competition

For the annual competition, which fosters cross-disciplinary collaboration and design thinking, junior students studying architecture, landscape architecture, industrial design, interior design and visual communication join together to propose solutions to a design question.

Last year, the competition asked students to reinvent the idea of a stadium as a “third space” (a social space separate from work and home), and some of their ideas were incorporated into plans for the Sun Devil Stadium renovation. Furst, who was 1999 Business School Hall of Fame inductee and named the 2017 Philanthropist of the Year by the ASU Foundation, is giving the school $50,000 to expand the Sun Devil Central: 3rd Place 365 cluster competition to non-design students. Manning also donated $2,500 to the effort.

“We got $52,000 to develop and implement the teaching pedagogy we have been using with the cluster project at a larger scale that can include non-design students as well,” Zingoni said. “We have so far 150 junior students from The Design School from architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, industrial design and visual communication and 70 non-design students.”

The funded proposal includes $10,000 in cash awards for students, funding for five design faculty to create an online 18-minute talk about different topics related to design thinking, and student research support to document this cross-disciplinary learning experience. 

For more information on the Interdisciplinary Cluster Competition, visit

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