Interior Design Students Make Semifinals in the 2020 Disney Imaginations Design Competition

Arc ID student submission

Pleistocene Pavilion by Lu Sui and Zhiwen ‘Vicky’ Dong


Two students in Miami University’s Architecture + Interior Design department made it to the semifinals of the 29th annual Disney Imaginations Competition for their pavilion design inspired by a local fossil. Imaginations is a design competition created and sponsored by Walt Disney Imagineering with the purpose of seeking out and nurturing the next generation of diverse Imagineers.

Interior Design majors Lu Sui (class of 2021) and Zhiwen ‘Vicky’ Dong (class of 2022) elected to team up and enter the competition. The 2020 project challenged teams to “create an iconic installation at the contestants’ own campus or city that served as an inspiration, honored the past, and was a vision of the future.” In a process similar to how Imagineers develop their proposals, the pair had only a matter of weeks last October to direct their artistic, technical and communication skills to deliver a concept. Their competition entry details the story behind the design and illustrates the user/guest experience.

Inspired by Oxford’s natural history, Vicky and Lu proposed a “Pleistocene Pavilion” to be located in Peffer Park on the southern edge of Miami University’s campus. They envisioned the pavilion as a place for Miami students and Oxford residents to come together to appreciate and learn about nature. The pavilion’s form, based on the pelecypod clam fossils found in the park and throughout the region, honors Pleistocene Epoch glacial fossils as symbols of the park and the region. A small exhibition space encourages learning about natural history and active participation in contemporary concerns of environmental protection. One rendering shows the pavilion’s relationship to the environment across all four seasons. Another view envisions the park hosting an Earth Day festival.

The team learned in November that their project had been selected by Disney Imagineering to proceed to the semifinal round of judging but had to keep their project under wraps until final judging was complete. While their project was not among the six finalists, the students are enthusiastic about the experience. As Lu explains, “the love of Disney prompted me to participate in this competition. In the competition, I can have the opportunity to use what I learned in class and increase my design experience.” Vicky adds, “I joined this competition to challenge myself and get more experiences beyond basic class works. And, to me sometimes, challenges are chances.” Congratulations to these semifinalists!

Pleistocene Pavilion by Lu Sui and Zhiwen ‘Vicky’ Dong. The project was conceived by the Miami University Department of Architecture + Interior Design Team and created for the 2020 Walt Disney Imagineering’s Imaginations Design Competition. This project is the sole property of Walt Disney Imagineering and all rights to use these ideas are exclusive to Walt Disney Imagineering. The competition is a way for students and recent graduates to showcase their talents and for Walt Disney Imagineering to identify new talent.

Arc Id Winners Lu Sui and Zhiwen Dong

Interior Design majors Lu Sui (class of 2021) and Zhiwen ‘Vicky’ Dong (class of 2022) 

Pleistocene Pavilion Design

Detail of Pleistocene Pavilion.


The inspiration board for Pleistocene Pavilion.