The winner of the Stichting Rho graduation prize is known!

The winner of the Stichting Rho graduation prize is known!

07/14/2023 - 09:15

Yesterday, 13 July 2023, the award ceremony of the Stichting Rho-afstudeerprijs 2023 (Stichting Rho graduation prize) took place. After intensive jury deliberation, the prize was awarded to Tzvetelina Vesselinova. Tzvetelina officially accepted the first prize during the Built Environment graduation ceremony at Breda University of Applied Sciences (BUas).
Built Environment
  • Student work

Stichting Rho graduation prize 

The Stichting Rho graduation prize is a joint initiative of Stichting Rho and BUas. By initiating this prize the parties involved would like to encourage and teach students to shape the future sustainable and liveable society in an integrated and innovative way. This prize is for the best graduation project on a topical theme or innovation in the field of Built Environment, demonstrating an integrated view of the challenges in this field.

The winner

Out of all the entries, Tzvetelina Vesselinova was selected as the rightful winner by the jury thanks to her impressive graduation research entitled ‘Urban Re-birth Rivierenbuurt’. In her research, Tzvetelina dealt with an urgent transformation task of an urban area, prompted by the large housing need to be solved within the city by densification. Does that even fit, and how, and what does it do to the living environment of this neighbourhood? In her thesis, Tzvetelina carried out a far-reaching analysis of the neighbourhood and its problems and came up with her own vision and solutions.

With this research and this fine prize in her hands, Tzvetelina is has concluded her Built Environment study programme at BUas cum laude.

The winner was presented a cheque for €850 by Monique Lammens (director of Rho Adviseurs), chair of the jury. The jury, consisting of Joost Schrijnen (board member of Stichting Rho), Martijn Backx (project leader of Rho Adviseurs, and former BUas student), and Monique Lammens, had laid down the following criteria in judging the graduation researches submitted:

  • Urgency or relevance for the field of spatial planning;
  • Creativity of innovative research;
  • Integrated look at the problems outlined;
  • Research skills: research question, approach, applicability of results/recommendations.

Why this research deserves the first prize? Because it provided a thorough analysis of a complex and urgent task, while also showing a healthy dose of creativity and daring. This research delivers a useful product that can be used to further shape an urban development plan for the Rivierenbuurt.

‘This graduation research shows urban planning skill and vision. The Rivierenbuurt has a low density, but it also has diverse functions, which has an effect on liveability. Functions that remain. A neighbourhood surrounded by traffic arteries within the city centre. How do we shape the densification task? Tzvetelina does so using three themes: urban movement, urban space and urban form. In other words, she looked at the required network, the required spatial structures and a mix of functions, among other things. The aim was to make such a densification task possible while maintaining a liveable neighbourhood. Tzvetelina portrayed this very accurately, also drawing from cases elsewhere. She also articulated design goals for the Rivierenbuurt. Then, through a densification study, she gave further direction to, and developed this into, a master plan. In the process, she also made bold proposals such as closing the Schenk viaduct to car traffic and bringing back the Schenk Canal. Her ability to put things into perspective also comes across well in her research: the task is very complex due to the municipality's target (1,500 homes) and the needs of residents being at odds with each other.’

Apart from Tzvetelina Vesselinova, there were also two other nominees, who were awarded with the second and third prizes: 

  • Giedo Pouwels received the second prize, €250, for his graduation research ‘Transformation of shopping centre Dukenburg’
  • An honourable mention, the third prize (dinner voucher) went to Noor Hooijmaijers for her graduation research entitled ‘Integration of an effective climate policy’

Rho Adviseurs and BUas would like to thank all students for their entries and wish them good luck and plenty of wonderful challenges for the future!