Architecture college looks to its students for design


Published: Thursday, January 22, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at 11:38 p.m.

The recent school budget crisis led the College of Design, Construction and Planning at the University of Florida to hold a 10-hour "Pride in Place Charrette" Wednesday to find a more cost-effective way to improve the Architecture building.

In a time of budget cuts, improvements get put aside, new enhancements get ignored and projects get left undone.

"In a time of tight budgets, we have to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps," said Peggy Carr, charrette coordinator and assistant dean for undergraduate and academic affairs at the College of Design, Construction and Planning.

A charrette is an intensive collaborative design session. The goal, according to Carr, is to take a fixed time period, work really hard and then be done.

Students' winning designs will be implemented by fall 2009.

"The hardest part was to choose the problems we wanted the students to focus on," Carr said. "We narrowed it down to three."

Those three tasks: design a seating area for a common space, design an individual studio work station and design a system of banners or other signage to improve the building's visual quality.

"We realize that there's a lot we could do," Carr said. "So rather than waiting for someone to design it, we thought of using the design expertise of our students."

Unlike many other majors, students from the College of Design, Construction and Planning spend most of their time within the college's different buildings.

"Instead of simply having a lecture or lab which they go to for a short time, they basically always live here," Carr said. "There's never enough money to do what we would really like to do to make it a great place to study."

Odenis Vitoreli, first-year graduate architecture student, along with his two teammates, Ryan McGinn, senior undergraduate architecture student, and Kimberly Gillar, second-year graduate architecture student, chose to work on designing an individual studio work station.

"It forces you to make very quick decisions and be critical," Vitoreli said. "We do a lot of conceptual thinking, but this affects our immediate surroundings."

The first- and second-place winners overall of this contest will win $750 and $250, respectively.

"I would forgo the money to see us win the competition," McGinn said.

"It would be a great thing to put in your portfolio," Gillar said. "Architects always go into competitions, so it prepares you for the future."

The winners from each category will be chosen no later than Jan. 30.

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