2019 AIA EUROPE SHOLARSHIP - WINNER ANNOUNCED

Congratulations to Michael Salka, AIA Continental Europe’s 2019 Scholarship Winner!

Congratulations to Michael Salka, AIA Continental Europe’s 2019 Scholarship Winner!

Michael Salka is a diversely ambitious young creator who in less than 30 years of life has built projects spanning three continents and remains committed to solving the unprecedented challenges of a globalized, majority-urban, and climatically unstable world using the equally unprecedented potential of big data and digital technologies. In May of 2014 he completed a Bachelor of Environmental Design with a Major in Architecture from the University of Colorado at Boulder, earning magna cum laude interdisciplinary honors and departmental special honors. While an undergraduate, he won multiple competitions organized by The American Institute of Architecture Students, led a team of Engineers Without Borders through the conception and construction of rainwater catchment systems in rural Rwanda, defended an independently researched thesis regarding emerging parametric urban design tools and published an environmental justice study informed by geographic information systems in the Natural Hazards Center Journal.

After graduation, he contributed to the realization of the USA’s largest net-zero energy, master-planned neighborhood as an intern with the Denver-based firm Michael Tavel Architects (now SUN Studio) before departing on a year of investigative travel through 21 European countries. Upon returning to Colorado he assumed an associate position at Hangar 41, a broadly innovative architecture firm rooted in Denver's historic Art District on Santa Fe. In this role he contributed to and managed multi-family, retail, restaurant, commercial and mixed-use urban infill projects as well as tenant fit-outs.

Currently, he is pursuing a Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, one of the world's leading avant-garde design universities. This fully immersive program is hosted at Valldaura Labs, a XIX century masia in Barcelona’s Collserola park. In this unparalleled setting students live, learn and build amongst complementary research efforts ranging from teaching robots how to farm, 3D printing at architectural scales with earth, developing fully traceable timber and using moss to generate electricity. The master's degree culminates in September 2019 with the construction of a 1:1 prototype house, after which Michael will stay on as Valldaura’s technical director, responsible for integrating various Horizon 2020 and other projects into a compellingly synthetic vision for a sustainable future.