Architecture students design hypothetical UI president’s house for class contest
Each student received the same set of guidelines in August, yet over the semester they planned and sketched 18 completely different buildings.
Graduate architecture students enrolled in a design studio course over the semester participated in a competition to design the best hypothetical residence for the University of Idaho’s president. The competition comes at a time when the president’s house is undergoing plans to be remodeled in the coming years, giving participating students the tools and mindset to start from scratch.
Diane Armpriest, professor for one of the two studios in the course, said this was the third year the Idaho Forest Products Commission sponsored a design competition for architecture students. She said participating students had to come up with unique ways to incorporate wood into their designs.
“I thought it was a really good group of students who worked hard during the semester, and made good progress and demonstrated that they understood the use of wood, understood and valued the use of wood as a design and construction material,” she said.
Armpriest said she and her colleague tried to make the environment for the studio as much like an architectural firm as possible — giving them a glimpse into the professional world of architects. She said the course required students to design a high-performance building.
“They need to demonstrate that they could be hired by a firm, and be a good intern architect,” Armpriest said. “They have one more design studio, and that’s a project of their own invention, and so this is the last time that they’re all working together on a similar, same type, well, a project with very specific requirements.”
Armpriest said the contest’s first-place winner, Kayla Stoker, received $500 and a trophy. The next two places — Jacob Liddicoat (second place) and Tucker Haderlie (third place) — won $250 each. She said there were also two honorable mentions, Crystal Nutsch and Alfonso Ramirez.
Stoker said the process of developing her building design into the final version was a long but worthwhile project.
“It was a semester-long project that we’ve been working on since the beginning, so it went through a lot of different iterations, and different process, and just changing things along the way,” she said. “This is first-year grad school, so we’ve done it (made designs) for so many years, but every project’s different. You always come across different challenges you don’t anticipate going in, and the program that you’re given is challenging.”
Armpriest said she and Bruce Haglund, the other professor for the course, chose the design project for the students. She said they decided on a hypothetical design for a president’s house because it is a current project — an architecture firm from Boise is already in the process of designing the house — and fits the size usually undertaken in the studio.
She said the project turned out to be more complicated than expected because of the need to balance publicity requirements of the home with private living space.
Stoker said she enjoyed the challenge involved in the project.
“The public aspect of this one was fun for me,” she said. “Sometimes we get into housing and stuff like that, and so it was interesting to do a more public building that still had that residential component to it.”
Clay Cravea, one of the students in Haglund’s studio, said one of the goals in the studio was to build a net zero energy building that would make more energy than it used. He said his design followed “passive house” guidelines, meaning it relies on natural heating and cooling methods, as well as uses solar panels and incorporates a method for using runoff water.
“Sustainability’s one of those things that won’t go away for a long time,” Cravea said. “Being at school and in this competition, I feel like not only do we learn of new materials or new ways to use wood, new wood technology in general, but this green architecture stuff is something that we can apply to our jobs immediately after school.”
He said he enjoyed seeing the differences between the designs and styles of the students.
“You can have infinite possibilities with anything, but this is one of those projects where it’s like ‘Yeah it’s a house,’ and it has everyone have the same criteria, but you can see so many different ways of doing it,” he said. “Solving issues from privacy to public visions and the use of materials, that kind of thing. So it’s fun to see everyone’s creativity.”
Haderlie said he enjoyed working with the structure in his design and felt it was important to give the building a certain rhythm.
“I really enjoyed it, because that is kind of what I would like to do when I get out to be an architect. I would like to do large high-end home design,” he said. “So to be able to have the opportunity to actually do a home and an event space design that’s kind of focused on what I would like to do in the future was really fun and exciting for me.”
Armpriest said she hopes to teach the class with Haglund again next year, as she believes they made a good team. She said the next project will feature a different building, but should be something local — probably another building on campus.
Daphne Jackson can be reached at email@example.com