AMES, Iowa — A multidisciplinary team of recent Iowa State University College of Design graduates is among three finalists in the student category of the 19th Annual Hospitality Design Awards competition.

This national competition, sponsored by Hospitality Design magazine, recognizes outstanding design projects in 26 categories related to the hospitality industry.

Bryann Brophy and Brittany Noble, who received their bachelor of fine arts degrees in interior design in 2022; Olivia Fletcher, who received a bachelor of landscape architecture in 2022; and Hannah Randall, who received a master of arts in interior design in 2021 and a master of architecture in 2022, were named finalists for their project “Hotel Rina.”

The finalist teams will be honored and the winner will be announced at the HD Awards ceremony on Tuesday, June 6, in New York City. All winners and finalists will be featured in the May/June issue of Hospitality Design magazine.

Hotel Rina

Brophy, Noble, Fletcher and Randall conceptualized “Hotel Rina” in the interdisciplinary spring 2022 Hospitality Studio taught by Lee Cagley, now professor emeritus of interior design, and Tom Leslie, formerly a Morrill Professor of Architecture at Iowa State, now on the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Working in teams with at least one member each from architecture, landscape architecture and interior design, students designed a hotel in the Flaminio District of Rome, in a complex of buildings originally designed by Pier Luigi Nervi for the 1960 Summer Olympic Games.

Their projects incorporated 450 guest rooms and suites, a lobby, ballrooms, meeting rooms, a casual and a formal restaurant, a lounge, spa, pool and extensive public gardens, among other amenities.

The studio included an optional international field trip to Italy, where students visited the proposed hotel site and other locations to gather information and images to inform their conceptual designs.

“The experience was amazing. It helped our project in several ways,” said Noble, who now works as a project designer for Gin Design Group in Houston.

“We were able to understand the site much better, which ended up playing a huge part in our design process. This knowledge allowed us to think about our hotel not only for its patrons but for people of the community and tourists. It affected the spatial planning, building form and concept of our design,” she said.

“Hotel Rina” derives from the Italian word “rinascere,” which means revival. The team translated that term into their design by trying to breathe life back into the neighborhood both physically and culturally.

“Since the Olympic Games ended, this part of the Eternal City has become a residential area that the region has been slowly rebuilding and repurposing,” said Brophy, now an interior designer for Buxton Kubik Dodd Design Collective in Springfield, Missouri.

“Our purpose with this hotel was to create a cultural center to attract people from all over. And we sought to embrace Italian culture throughout the entire design to honor the context.”

“Hotel Rina” embraces materials prevalent throughout Rome like stones, wood, plants and water. The group incorporated these elements into their design with their rooftop pool that is surrounded greenery, their spa that integrates marble and stone into its aesthetic and the wooden fixtures in their first-floor lobby.

“This was such a unique experience which was unlike any other studio in my time at the College of Design,” said Fletcher, who works as a remote landscape designer for Reno Green in Reno, Nevada.

“Being a landscape architecture student and getting to work with, learn from, and bounce ideas off an architecture student and two interior design students was so much fun! There’s so much we were able to teach each other. And we realized how each of our specialties impacts and can enhance the others.”

Even outside the studio environment, “our team was especially tuned in to each other, which allowed us to play to our strengths and work effectively together to create a cohesive vision for Hotel Rina,” said Randall, currently an architectural intern for KH Webb Architects in Vail, Colorado.

Cagley said he and Leslie intended for the project to be a challenging one, and all their students produced truly exceptional work. The Hotel Rina team’s design “was spectacular and exceedingly well executed,” he said.

“Their project took a very rectilinear site, and, allowing for the complex angular circulation patterns that overlaid the location, produced a sensuous and curvilinear building that answered all of the complexities of the program with a fluid and well-integrated iconic shape,” Cagley said.

“The interior spaces all worked beautifully, which is often a difficult task in a building that avoids looking like a big motel. The landscape design was, likewise, exceptionally well considered, and between the four students everything held together in a unified whole.”

Brophy and Noble will represent their team at the awards ceremony in New York next week.


Lee Cagley, Professor Emeritus, Interior Design, lcagley@iastate.edu
Bryann Brophy, 2022 Graduate, Interior Design, bryann.brophy@gmail.com
Olivia Fletcher, 2022 Graduate, Landscape Architecture, ofletcher7@gmail.com
Brittany Noble, 2022 Graduate, Interior Design, brittanyn@gindesigngroup.com
Hannah Randall, 2021 Graduate, Interior Design and 2022 Graduate, Architecture, hrbartel@gmail.com
Lauren Johnson, Communications Specialist, College of Design, laujohn2@iastate.edu