Blog: Student Competition

June 7, 2016
Student Competition - Student Competition
Roland Argomaniz

On Friday, June 3, the 12 finalists selected by their instructors were invited to the Southern California Gas Company’s Energy Resource Center in Downey, CA. In keeping with the theme of sustainability, the So. Cal Gas Energy Resource Center is a showcase facility where visitors can learn about energy efficiency and environmentally sensitive building technology, so they can make informed choices about energy consumption and conservation. It was in this spirit that the students were invited to present their projects before select jury members, whereupon an emphasis was placed on the sustainable elements that were strategically embedded into their projects.

The event, which was well attended by many members of the second year undergraduate students and first year graduate students of Cal Poly Pomona as well as various guests, was a strong end to a year in which the students were to investigate issues of site and sustainability. The project, a Marine Mammal Recovery Center, located near the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach, CA, required a rigorous investigation on behalf of the students into sustainability issues such as daylighting and passive heating and cooling systems all while considering the fragility of the marine wetlands under constant flux and threat, both natural and industrial.

While all 12 projects were strong in both their formal and sustainable elements, the top honors were award to Matthew Rivera (First Place) and Eduardo Martinez (Second Place). Honorable mentions were awarded to Sarahi Baeza, Kyle Ng, Parady Sarun, and Christina Younger.

Guest Author: Roland Argomaniz is a first-year Graduate Student of Architecture at California Polytechnic University, Pomona. He is a native of Los Angeles, CA. 

June 5, 2016
Student Competition - Student Competition
Danielle Vitoff

On Friday, the finalists of the Blueprint for Functional Sustainabiltiy Competition presented to a panel of local judges. From these presentations, the winners of the competition were selected. We are proud to announce that the following individuals were awarded monetary prizes for their submissions.

First Place: Matthew Rivera

Second Place: Eduardo Martinez

Honorable Mentions: Sarahi Baeza, Kyle Ng, Parady Sarun, Christina Younger

Thank you to the judges and all of the participants for making Friday's event a great day!

The presentations from all of the finalists will be shared on the California Sustainability website during the next month. 

June 2, 2016
Student Competition - Student Competition
Danielle Vitoff

On Wednesday during their final studio critique, twelve students (two from each studio) were selected as finalists in the Blueprint for Functional Sustainability Competition. Congratulations to the twelve students below who will be presenting their work to a panel of judges on Friday, June 3rd. 

2016 Blueprint for Functional Sustainability Competition Finalists

  • Sarahi Baeza
  • Shant Charoian
  • Phillip Chau
  • Ryan Han
  • Jocelyn Hernandez
  • Matthew James Dana
  • Eduardo Martinez
  • Kyle Ng
  • Gem Nguyen
  • Matthew Rivera
  • Parady Sarun
  • Christina Younger

The top designs from the finalists will be awarded a monetary prize, with $1,500 for first place and $500 for second place. The designs of all of the finalists will be featured on the Alliance website when the competition concludes.

May 26, 2016
Student Competition - Student Competition
Audrey Kane
Bolsa Chica site
Bolsa Chica site
Orange County Marine Mammal Care Center

“When any real progress is made, we unlearn and learn anew what we thought we knew before.” – Henry David Thoreau

As the quarter is winding down, we are in the final stretch to the end. Students are putting the finishing touches on their designs. In these last strides, the goal is to move from conceptual ideas to concrete pragmatism. We are making alterations to the formal spatial relationships found in the figure-ground exercise, to livable, moveable spaces. 

At this moment in time, we are scrutinizing the palpability of the spaces created; such as the functional qualities of a space and its correlation to the program of the Orange County Marine Mammal Care Center. In the learning process, we are to articulate how the program is transformed by the site, and vice versa. The current design criteria is to employ an access to the site and how one, or animal, might traverse their way about it.  

Guest Author: Audrey Kane grew up in rural Central California. She is a fan of good coffee and traveling.

May 24, 2016
Student Competition - Student Competition
Matt Danna
Figure Ground Drawings

Students started the design process in an abstract way, knowing nothing of the program, the intended project, or the intended function. The design was done in a series of steps, that could either be translated literally into the design or used as a learning process. The first of these steps was a figure ground drawing that was done using a tartan grid. Figure ground in itself refers to a visual phenomenon that occurs when there is an ambiguity as to what is in the foreground and what is in the background. We tend to have a visual bias towards the figure, so by making the figure interchangeable with the background students were forced to consider both. This consideration was carried throughout all the steps as the students moved to the final problem set, a Marine Mammal Care Center. The center has two occupants, the humans and mammals, whose needs must be met without comprising the other. A balance between two goals that must be both considered

From the figure ground drawing students were asked to create a site with water and land using only the method of cut and fill. Cut and fill refers to the displacement of land, cutting the same amount of earth that you fill so none has to be removed or brought to the site. Using sustainability as a driver in design rather than a hindrance, students were asked to shade the site they created using perforated panels provided to them. The panels acted as a passive sustainable system to shade the water as well as an architectural element. Students then had to balance the sustainable aspects of the project as well as their intended design.

For the final problem set, each student presented their concept for the Marine Mammal Care Center to a panel of professors, who each teach a section in the studio. Debate of how the elements of the project: the shading structure, the building, and the site, relate to each other was one of discussions during midterm reviews. Questions on how the project related to the larger site around it and the Bolsa Chica environment were further raised

As an architect or designer, a balance between goals is essentially always the problem set (e.g.  concept vs function). How does one fully accomplish both without compromising the other in the development of architecture? The students working on their rehabilitation centers attempt to address this balance in different and interesting ways. Students continue to grapple with their projects moving into the final weeks as they finalize their design.

Guest Author: Matthew Danna is currently a second year architecture student attending California Polytechnic University, Pomona from Santa Cruz, California.