Two seniors from Green Mountain High School in Lakewood, Colorado, a suburb of Denver, won first place in the fourth annual National Design Competition for their design of a new high school that maximizes a spectacular view of Denver’s skyline. Teams from New Haven and Bridgeport, Connecticut placed second and third, respectively, with designs of a green row house project and an arts and cultural center.
In all, 19 teams of students competed in the ACE program. With 72 affiliates nationwide, ACE recruits practicing architects, engineers and construction professionals to mentor high school students in an after-school program that teaches them about the design and construction industry.
The top three National Design Competition teams were invited to Washington, D.C. to present their projects to a jury of seven CEOs of leading design and construction industry companies.
The first-place team won for its ACE affiliate a prize of $3,000 sponsored by CIRT. The affiliates of the second- and third-place teams received $2,000 and $1,000 prizes, respectively. The Lane Construction Corporation and Day & Zimmerman, Inc. underwrote the second-place prize, and Odebrecht Construction donated the third-place prize.
After the competition, the three teams visited Capitol Hill to present their projects to senators and congressmen from their respective districts.
Design competition teams could choose one of four projects: 1) the “ideal” school that stimulates students to achieve their best; 2) a row of three different green houses, each of which should serve as a laboratory for building techniques, sizes, and energy efficiency; 3) an arts center/theater offering culture in every form; and 4) a parking garage “outside the box,” challenging current perceptions of urban parking facilities. Sustainable design features were required of each project.
With their first-place project, a redesigned Green Mountain High School, seniors Lane Brugman and Kristin Bayley wanted to increase students’ pride in their school and to motivate them to remain on campus more. Their design’s focal point was a commons and cafeteria with an expansive glass curtain wall affording views of Denver. The curtain walls, ample windows and skylights reduced the need for artificial light. Other sustainable features of the school included xeriscaped landscaping and geothermal HVAC systems.
Kathleen Meriano, a senior at Sacred Heart Academy in Hamden, Connecticut, presented the second-place Green Housing Row project designed by New Haven Team Number One. Ten students drawn from several schools designed three prototypes for green row houses on a largely abandoned city block in East Haven. To meet different community needs, one house was completely handicap-accessible; another was envisioned for a couple working from home; and the third unit, with an in-law suite, was intended for a multigenerational family. Nineteen units would be built on three sides of the site, leaving a large open community green space under which was a geothermal heat pump.
The third-place project, designed by a five-person team from the Bridgeport and Stratford, Connecticut ACE affiliate, was a multipurpose arts and cultural center. Ryan DeSilva, a senior at Stratford High School, explained that the 21,000-square-foot facility was situated in a brownfield site along the Housatonic River in Stratford. It included exhibition space, modular classrooms, and an unusual theater arrangement whereby an outdoor amphitheater and an indoor theater shared a common stage.
The ACE Mentor Program was founded in 1995 to engage, excite and enlighten high school students to careers in the integrated construction industry through mentoring; and, provide a mechanism for their continued advancement in the industry through scholarships and grants. ACE’s 72 affiliates in 36 states organize 1,800 mentors to deliver the program to almost 8,000 students.
The Construction Industry Round Table (CIRT) is exclusively composed of approximately 100 CEOs from the leading architectural, engineering and construction firms doing business in the United States.