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Equal parts disco ball, beach-spanning parasol, solar-energy collector and nightlight, this massive floating orb proposes a futuristic landmark for the rocky point where Rio de Janeiro’s legendary Copacabana and Ipanema beaches meet. Like a low-orbiting planet made of two Mylar balloons – one small and helium-filled, nested inside a larger one filled with hot air – this multi-purpose addition to Zona Sul’s local solar system would provide beachgoers with a roving patch of shade to take the edge off the midday sun. At night, Aéreo would use energy collected from adhesive solar panels to illuminate Ipanema’s lampposts, as well as its own surface.

Project: Aéreo

Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

School: Harvard University, U.S.

Team: Caio Barboza and Sofia Blanco Santos

People’s Choice: A+ Award for Student Work
In this year’s AZ Award submissions, design students in the U.S. and Poland caught the jury's eye with projects that include an inventive baseball field and a concept for a wild water park.

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Award of MeritA+ Award for Student Work
Architectural Association School of Architecture, U.K.
Federico Fauli with tutors Efrén Ga Grinda, Christina Díaz Moreno and Benjamin Reynolds 
WinnerA+ Award for Student Work
Stuttgart, Germany
University of Stuttgart, Germany
WinnerA+ Award for Student Work
Danny Jens Karas