By: Jen Levisen - Communications Director, Mortarr

MMXX Winner: Elizabeth McDonald, University of Idaho

In late 2019, Mortarr asked architect and design students across the country to use the platform to enhance a current class project, and man, did they deliver.

“Our eight finalists submitted projects full of thought, creativity, inspiration, and pure, raw talent,” says Abby Murray, co-founder and CEO of Mortarr. “None more so than Elizabeth.”

Murray’s talking about University of Idaho interior architecture and design student, Elizabeth McDonald, winner of Mortarr’s inaugural scholarship and the Crane Kick Awarrd, part of the Mortarr Awarrds MMXX. McDonald’s submission of a Digestive Health Center in Scottsdale, Ariz., received high marks from Mortarr’s digital panel of judges, which included Elizabeth Von Lehe, Design and Brand Strategy Principal at HDR; Alexandra Muller, Associate Director of Materials at ILFI; Lily Genis, Senior Material Expert at Material Bank; and Jackie Peacha, Creative Director at RSP Architects.

“I was impressed with her level of thoughtfulness and sophistication in something as difficult as healthcare,” says Von Lehe.

McDonald’s goal for the newly constructed, 12,540 square-foot digestive health center was to “design a space that takes away from the reasoning for the building by accommodating functional, aesthetic, and psychological needs so patient’s associate anxiety and stress with the building as little as possible. It should be a place for resources, help, and guidance.”

McDonald sourced additional inspiration for the space on Mortarr, tapping into projects and ideas initially designed for the corporate and office, education, and hospitality sectors.

2019 was the inaugural year for the scholarship, which is part of Mortarr’s Mortarr in the Classroom initiative. The initiative encourages faculty and students to use Mortarr as a resource in the classroom, streamlining the way inspiration and products for project and course work are sourced today.

“The internet has, without question, changed the way the world works, and the commercial construction and design industry is no exception,” says Murray. “Millennials taking over leadership seats are accustomed to technologies that push for more timely, cost-effective, and visually-inspired ways to work, and the same shift should be happening in the classroom. So, while we’re partnering with the best pros and brands in the industry, we’re committed to sharing these innovations with the next generation through Mortarr in the Classroom.”

McDonald was first introduced to Mortarr during the American Society of Interior Designer’s 2019 SCALE event in New York. Since then, she’s used Mortarr’s website and app to source inspiration for a variety of projects for her internship and classwork, including her senior capstone project.

“I love being able to dive into all the details of the projects that inspire me most on Mortarr,” says McDonald. “I tend to get sucked in.” Regarding her scholarship submission, “Mortarr provided inspiration that wasn’t conventional, and that made all the difference.”

Scroll down for McDonald’s winning submission.

“I love being able to dive into all the details of the projects that inspire me most on Mortarr...Mortarr provided inspiration that wasn’t conventional, and that made all the difference.”

-Elizabeth McDonald, University of Idaho

Find more inspiring commercial projects and meet the pros and brands that make them happen.

  • Mortarr - Black Circle
  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • Instagram - Black Circle
  • Twitter - Black Circle