University of Cincinnati

Date: 4/7/2008
Contact: M.B. Reilly ; E-mail:
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Lisa Britton


University of Cincinnati architecture senior, Nick Sillies, 22, of Springboro, Ohio, was recently selected as the nation’s Cooperative Education Student of the Year by the national Cooperative Education and Internship Association.Nick Sillies

Nick was named the nation’s best co-op student for his required co-op quarters as a UC student due to his work with globally prestigious architecture firms where he’s been given responsibility on internationally prominent projects. For instance, while working at Tsao & McKown Architects during the summer of 2007 and subsequently during the winter of 2008, Nick contributed to a prestigious 50-story condo tower in downtown Manhattan, just a few blocks from the World Trade Center.

He said, “Work that I contributed to in the summer of 2007 was actually being integrated into the building when I returned in winter 2008. I and an architect at the firm worked on the pre-cast, concrete panels that formed the…facade of the building. This was a very important aspect of the design. It’s what people will notice first in a structure that’s changing the New York City skyline.”

In this case, the structure was a standout due, in part, to its color, which was a cascade of hues that began as a distinctive yellow at the crown and then gradually translated to a grey/black at the base of the tower.

Nick, a student in UC’s top-ranked architecture program, part of the university’s internationally ranked College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, was responsible for making sure that the facades's panels wrapped the entire building as they were meant to in order to form a “design banner.” He added, “The panels not only had to fit together aesthetically in terms of the color transition but had to fit together in order to meet functional requirements, including being waterproof. Basically, I was trusted with a part of the project that had a lot of technical details, where a lot of money was at stake and where the building’s and firm’s image was also paramount.”Nick Sillies

As a co-op student at UC, where cooperative education had its global founding more than a century ago and where the university’s co-op program is ranked in the nation’s Top Ten by U.S. News & World Report, Nick has also worked two co-op quarters for Earl Swensson Associates, Inc. There, he worked with a 3-D modeling program to develop schematic design options for an ongoing firm project.

Said Tara Myers, senior project manager with Earl Swensson Associates, “He came into the firm…and blew us away with his ability to jump right into the project at hand and learn new skills and programs.”

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