Each spring, HMC Architects awards two travel fellowships to meritorious employees to encourage the exploration of other cultures and to strengthen the creative ethos of the firm. Each entrant submits a destination and describes how the experience would contribute to their personal vision and professional growth. This year, the winners of the competition are Yunnan Allen, LEED® AP and Danny Schapker. Each received a $4,000 travel stipend and an additional week of paid time off to complete their proposed journey.

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Allen is a designer in HMC Architects’ Los Angeles office whose submittal was entitled “China Rising: Extreme Juxtaposition.” She proposed to immerse herself in the diverse musical heritage of China as an auditory link to its culture. Allen will experience contrasting musical adventures that range from the Beijing Opera to Shanghai punk rock; and from the ancient music of Naxi to the influence of the Western violin on Chinese culture. Travelling from Beijing to Shanghai to Dali, she will conclude her adventure with intensive violin training in Kunming. She will document her trip with a mix of journals, photo diaries, and audio recordings.

Schapker is a designer in HMC Architects’ Irvine office, who has always dreamed of archeology. His entry was titled “Archeological Expedition—Romania.” He planned a three-week journey to Romania to pursue his lifelong dream in a place considered to be one of the few remaining archeological frontiers. While training with a volunteer archeological group called Projects Abroad, he will begin his adventure in Deva, join an actual dig in Avrig, and work with the Museum in Alba Julia and Cluj. Finally, Schapker will conclude his journey with a backpacking trip through the Carpathian Mountains. He plans to document the details of his trip in a series of journals.

“I was really impressed with the imagination and finesse demonstrated by the best of the entries,” said guest judge Michael K. Woo, Dean of Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Environmental Design. “HMC’s travel fellowship competition is a very unique example of an employer encouraging its employees to stretch their minds and take chances.”

According to HMC Architects President and CEO, Randy Peterson, FAIA, LEED AP, “There were many outstanding proposals submitted this year. The client jury was very impressed by the entries, but the award went to two outstanding proposals. We are all eager to share in the results of their expeditions.”

Established to enable greater exposure to outside influences, new ideas, or historic precedents, HMC Architects has branded their travel fellowship program “HMC [X]ref.” In computer-aided design—a primary tool for the architectural industry—‘Xref’ refers to a dynamic link between drawing files. It is also an abbreviation of ‘cross-reference,’ which plays on the program’s goal—to expose individuals to experiences that connect them to a wider span of influence. The resulting personal growth and creative renewal is reflected into all aspects of their lives, linking back to their work and enriching the lives of fellow HMC colleagues.

Download a pdf of this news release: HMC Announces 2010 Winners of Travel Fellowship