News

Paying it Forward aka Architectural Design Competition

Vianney High School’s Architectural Drawing class came into our office on December 17, ready to make their final presentation.  These presentations were the culmination of a six week effort to design a new branch bank in St. Louis County.  Some of the high school presenters wore ties, looking as professional as possible. They appeared at times to be nervous yet excited and not sure what to expect from the panel of architects who may enjoy breaking down every aspect of their design just to rattle them. Was that going to happen here?  Would these teams be subject to that from the four judging architects from M+H?

Not at all.  The architects from M+H consisted of Bret Fendelman, Justin Bruce, Zach Wester, and Larry Valenza (Wester and Valenza are both alumni of Vianney).  Earlier in the year we challenged them with an opportunity to show their skills by designing a real project that M+H was given.  We provided input and interim reviews with the entire class during the process and offered feedback for their presentations.  We also simplified the project to allow them to focus on working in teams, organizing information, creative problem solving, presentation skills and public speaking, all skills which will serve them in any career they choose to pursue.  They didn’t disappoint!

The level of design work and presentations delivered by all the seniors was nothing short of incredible.  All three groups’ designs had strengths and weaknesses, but the winning design solved the greatest number of design issues.  We also thought the winning design was the most likely of the three concepts to get further developed by the client.

This was the class’s first year to utilize Revit in the design process (to our amazement, they taught themselves to use the complicated software by watching YouTube videos), so computerized 3D models accompanied their presentations.  Truly amazing!

After the presentations, we were flattered to hear from their teacher, Mr. Sean Scanlon that two students have decided to pursue a degree in architecture as a direct result of this project.  We are certainly happy to have helped make such a significant impact on these young men.