Logo: University of Southern California

USC Students Win Disney Design Event

June 28, 2005 —
Dolce Wang and Michelle Costamagna were the youngest entrants in the competition.

Photo/Richard Terpstra
USC students Michelle Costamagna and Dolce Wang have been awarded first place in the team category for the 2005 Disney Imagi-Nation University Design Competition.
Costamagna is in the Bachelor of Architecture Program in the USC School of Architecture. Wang is in mechanical engineering in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and has a minor in cinema/television.

Costamagna and Wang received the award for their design of a Disney Princess Hotel, a princess-themed structure featuring a 600-ft. rotating restaurant fashioned after the enchanted rose from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” They will receive a $2,000 scholarship and the opportunity to interview for internships at Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) and The Walt Disney Co.

Imagi-Nations is a university design competition created and sponsored by WDI in order to promote diversity. The competition enables students from around the world to showcase their talents and gain practical knowledge in design, with the opportunity to earn scholarship money and internships.

The annual contest allows participants to propose anything any creative project their imaginations can fashion. WDI is the master planning, creative development, design, engineering, production, project management and research and development subsidiary of The Walt Disney Co.

Costamagna and Wang were the youngest entrants in the competition, having just completed their second year at USC.

“When we entered this competition we were well aware that our different majors would help us in the research and design of our entry,” Costamagna said.

“We hope that our extracurricular participation in this competition will encourage others to explore their own imaginations and creativity in design. It also promotes the interdisciplinary collaboration in and outside of coursework.”

Both students found the competition beneficial and life changing. “It helped me learn about discipline, working life, art and relationships,” Wang said. “I was able to spend an entire week with Disney Imagineers to see how genuine and down-to-earth they are, and of course it helped bring our schools together.”

Stressing the importance of cross-disciplinary collaboration, USC School of Architecture Dean Robert H. Timme said, “Problems and opportunities in today’s world are too complex to be addressed by a single profession. The jury from Disney Imagi-Nation realized this and saw the value of the collaboration between architecture and engineering in Michelle and Dolce’s work.”

Paul R. Tang, adjunct assistant professor in the school and coordinator of the second-year design studio, said, “I am particularly proud of their ability to come together from different disciplines and overcome all the difficulties, obstacles and personal differences to create a unified voice in their proposal. Michelle and Dolce navigated through a very difficult competition. This is where their ability to work as a team prevailed.”
--  Jane Ilger