Payette Sho-Ping Chin Memorial Academic Scholarship
UH Gerald D. Hines School of Architecture
Michelle Ovanessians, an Armenian American Architectural Designer, yields a careful response of expression in her projects, emphasizing beliefs and specificities of the population that might not have been considered before. Cultivated through her upbringing in Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and the United States, this exposure to vast lifestyles drives her sense of design where she strives meticulously to integrate site-specific stories, both essential and transformative, to provide awareness of social and cultural perspectives. She is a recent graduate of the UH Gerald D. Hines School of Architecture, who garnered an array of accolades during her undergraduate journey. Her remarkable achievements include the 2023 AIA Houston Design Awards as a two-time winner, where her work was celebrated amongst professionals as the only student winner for her project titled, ‘Nuke Town’ and her drawings were noted as innovative to the architectural profession. She is a Top 100 Finalist in the prestigious 2022 ‘One Drawing Challenge,’ for her project ‘A Bosnian Folktale’, showcasing her ability to portray diverse narratives in her creations. ‘Folktale’ was also featured as a semifinalist in the New York City Architecture Biennial and the DCA Drawing Exhibition. Her project titled ‘Homecoming’ was awarded both the 2022 AIA Houston Design Award and 2021 AIA Fort Worth Excellence in Architecture Student Design Awards. She demonstrates aspects such as storytelling through intentionally evocative graphic images most recently in her thesis on the Armenian Genocide, rituals and how we memorialize – “Criticism of Monuments and Memorials Towards a New Methodology.” She intends to continue to employ architecture in her quest to express experience as a vehicle to empower underrepresented voices.