Exploring CMUs as a construction and design material

For the eighth year in a row, the Architectural Materials and Systems class has participated in a design/build competition sponsored by the National Concrete Masonry Association Foundation. Fifteen architecture and environmental design students, working in teams of three (five teams total) designed a structure to be built entirely out of concrete masonry units (CMU). Each design was expected to utilize a ground plot of approximately eight feet by eight feet and incorporate the parking lot and its contents, i.e. the trees, the small man-made hill and the airport hangar. Each team put together a design presentation that was evaluated by a jury of professional architects, and construction and design experts.

The first jury selected three projects out of the five submissions to be built full-scale. Outdoor construction of the chosen designs was carried out in parking lot 19 and across from Wood County Airport off Poe Road with the support and cooperation of everyone in the class. On November 14, a second jury judged the three entries for recognition and ranked them according to first, second, and third place. Design innovation, quality, and masonry construction techniques was the basis of the evaluation. The team of Deon Parker, Guangyu Chen and Jasmine Jones (shown in photo above, left to right) won the $1,000 first prize. The second place team received $500 and third place $250.

The theme this year was “Dry Stack Design.” According to competition creator Andreas Luescher, architecture and environmental design professor and interim chair, architecture and environmental design explores the considerations and concepts that govern architecture within a tectonic tradition of craft, construction, detail, and assembly, just like Hadrian’s Wall in England.