From Classroom to Competition, Students Show Their Skills

Posted by Pete Hicks on 4/4/16 10:39 AM  |  5 min read time

While the concepts students learn in the classroom are valuable, there’s no substitute for the real-world experience that design competitions provide. Competitions are great because they let emerging visionaries test their skills and interact with working professionals, and receiving a prize at the end doesn’t hurt, either.

Architectural students from the Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo (UASD) in the Dominican Republic, as well as the University of Tokyo and Tokyo University of Science in Japan, collaborated with Vectorworks users and industry experts from around the world during Build New York Live, a collaborative, virtual design competition held over 48 hours. Their team, BIM Unlimited, used non-standard geometry and BIM workflows to integrate structural analysis, MEP design, external windflow analysis, and 4D construction scheduling into a single global design. The resulting 60-story residential tower and multisport community outreach arena in Lower West Manhattan won the competition's “Best Use of BIM for Sustainability or Constructability Award.”

Team BIM Unlimited's submission to Build New York Live. Team BIM Unlimited's submission to Build New York Live.

“The fact that we worked with a team of over 20 people from around the world to produce a project in a such an accelerated way was just amazing,” said Dominican students Ibsen García, Alfredo Cuello, and Ramdel Guerrero. “We ended up understanding how similar the workflows are in other countries compared to the Caribbean and what the demands are on other professionals in the architecture and construction field. We had no limits on the collaboration process since everyone was working in the cloud, which was really liberating. Everything just worked as it should, and we never had any issues.”

While the students in the Dominican focused on creating the building form's massing models, students from Japan used FlowDesigner software, which communicates with Vectorworks Architect via IFC file exchange, to run an airflow analysis, simulating the wind patterns over the site based on information from existing buildings and weather data. The team, comprised of students Prudsamon Kammasorn, Tatsuya Karube, Shuya Morita, Tomohiro Yamamoto, and Hideaki Yoshida under the leadership of doctoral student Yasin Mohamed Ibrahim, used windflow analysis to directly impact the building’s design. This impact includes the creation of the sports arena's distinctive, vertical-louvered façade, the setback core of the residential tower's ground floors, and the placement of trees in the landscape design, which reduced the wind velocity at the corner of the building facing the ocean.

FlowDesigner external airflow image courtesy of University of Tokyo students. FlowDesigner external airflow image courtesy of University of Tokyo students.

“The wind pattern played a major role in the generation of the design’s geometry because if the environment near the project is not good, it will become a problem after construction,” said Ibrahim. “The BIM data that we were able to access and communicate through Vectorworks Architect made our simulation very detailed, which was helpful given the small timeframe. It felt like we were on a real business deadline, which was beneficial to experience as a student.”

Professional opportunities like these aren’t limited to Build New York Live. Students at the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña have participated in various competitions over the past year using Vectorworks as their design software, including one jointly sponsored by the Dominican Ministry of External Affairs (Mirex) and the government of South Korea. This competition tasked students with creating a single building that could hold all of the facilities for the Information Technologies department of the Ministry of External Affairs. Students Antonio Brighenti, María del Carmen Peignand Espinal, Miguel Enrique Sánchez Paradas, Camila Marcelle Yaryura Luna, and Eileen Nicolás Resek came in second place out of 32 teams.

Participants in the Mirex Competition. From left to right: Antonio Brighenti, María del Carmen Peignand Espinal, Miguel Enrique Sánchez Paradas, Camila Marcelle Yaryura Luna, Rubén Hernández Fontana (Professor), Eileen Nicolás Resek, and Pablo Yermenos González (Professor). Participants in the Mirex Competition. From left to right: Antonio Brighenti, María del Carmen Peignand Espinal, Miguel Enrique Sánchez Paradas, Camila Marcelle Yaryura Luna, Rubén Hernández Fontana (Professor), Eileen Nicolás Resek, and Pablo Yermenos González (Professor).

University students also entered a competition sponsored by Latin American steel group Alacero, for which Sara Elisa Tejada Tejada and Katherine Mabel Rodriguez Alonso, along with collaborators Wellington Iván Tejada Méndez and Franya María Rodríguez Felix, responded to a prompt to create a “Sports and Social Center” that improves a deteriorated urban area and uses steel in an innovative way. Architect and professor Rubén Hernández Fontana mentored the MIREX team, as well as the Dominican team that participated in Build New York Live. He notes that working with students is working with the future.

“Competitions provide great networking opportunities for students, strengthening their links with professionals from other areas of their industries and other parts of the world,” says Hernández Fontana, owner of Dominican design firm ESTUDIO CARIBE. “The students’ global perspective of the profession expands, giving them tools that will strengthen their career opportunities in a profession that increasingly demands more communication, more multidisciplinary collaboration, and more social responsibility.”

Submission to the Alacero Competition by students from the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña. Submission to the Alacero Competition by students from the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña.

Students who participated in both the Mirex and Alacero competitions used Vectorworks software to explore their ideas and create projects that have real-world applications. But we’re sure they’re not the only ones! Whether you're a student or a professional, connect with us on Facebook or Twitter to share how you’ve participated in a competition.

This article first appeared in our bimonthly academic newsletter, For the Love of Design

Topics: Alacero, BIM Unlimited, Education, Mirex, Tokyo University of Science, Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña, University of Tokyo, Vectorworks Architect, 3D Modeling, awards, BIM, Build Earth Live, Build New York Live, Community, competition, IFC, inspiration, Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo

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