A team of NewSchool of Architecture and Design (NSAD) students won the award for “Most Adaptable Structure” for their cube-based design during the Cal Poly Design Village competition in San Luis Obispo April 13–15, which drew a total of 50 student teams. Another NSAD team received an honorable mention for their bamboo structure. The school’s teams have traditionally obtained high rankings in the annual event.
The Design Village competition challenges students to develop structures that are not only unique, but that are also portable and habitable—a task requiring a mastery of form and function that is emphasized throughout the NSAD curriculum. Students developed their designs during the winter quarter under the guidance of NSAD instructors, incorporating the competition’s theme of “Metamorphosis” with an emphasis on adaptable architecture and flexibility in design. NSAD team members who won for “Most Adaptable Structure” were Luis Valdovinos, Ramiro Martinez, Gonzalo Hernandez and Antonio Barragan.
This was the fifth time in the past six years that NSAD teams returned with one of the top prizes, though NSAD faculty advisor Hussein Munaim said the school’s winning tradition goes back even further. Munaim first got NSAD students involved in the competition in 1995, and this year five NSAD teams attended the competition with Munaim. For 2012, the competition awarded titles in five categories and five honorable mentions were also named. Members of the NSAD team that received an honorable mention for their bamboo structure were Daniel Romo, Mohamed Jarrar, Nelson Martinez, William N. Dunstan III and Fernando Gomez.
The NSAD team that won for “Most Adaptable Structure” built their project with 65 blocks made out of light Masonite. Each block was hand-sewn with hemp and had asymmetrical sides in the shape of a diamond, a square, a triangle and a shield. Plastic bands were used to link blocks. “The idea was that with these combinations you could build this structure in many different ways, depending on the need and site characteristics,” said Valdovinos, who is in NSAD’s Bachelor of Architecture program. For the competition, students must carry the structure materials three-quarters of a mile, build the structure on site, and then live in it for three days and two nights.