In May of 2005, a five-person jury convened at the school to select the first recipient of the Marcus Prize. A distinguished pool of international nominators identified 22 candidates, representing nine different countries and a broad spectrum of design agendas. From this pool and following extensive deliberations, the jury selected the Rotterdam firm of MVRDV.
Subsequently, Winy Maas (MVRDV) and Grace La (Associate Professor, UWM) co-led the inaugural Marcus Prize Studio. This teaching dyad undertook design research born from their shared interest in urban form and infrastructure. Speculating upon the notion of skycars in relation to the problems of density, and working fluidly between architectural research, conjecture, and design, the results of the studio are documented in the publication, Skycar City (Actar, 2007). The book sold over one thousand copies in the first weeks of its release and has been reviewed internationally. Additionally, the work of the Skycar City Studio, co-led by Winy Maas and Grace La, was exhibited in the main pavilion at the 2009 Venice Biennale.