NCARB and National Building Museum Host Interschool Design Competition

Architecture students from six local universities got a firsthand look at how creative design solutions can improve their community during the National Building Museum’s 2018 Interschool Design Competition. Armed with essential drafting tools, each team had eight hours to design a mixed-use building in Washington, D.C.’s, Chinatown that includes an early childhood development center and low-income housing, as well as a community park.

The annual competition, which took place in the Great Hall of the museum, aims to enrich and expand upon the skills students are learning in the classroom, while raising awareness about the realities of practice. Similar to how a licensed architect would approach a project, students were asked to collaborate with peers, consider the community’s needs, and incorporate sustainable elements.

Nearly 50 students from the following schools participated in the competition this year; The Catholic University of America; Howard University; Morgan State University; The University of Maryland; University of the District of Columbia; and Virginia Tech. The design solutions were evaluated by a jury of architects for overall design excellence, as well as innovation, impact, and relevance. The winning project, titled “Growth,” was announced during an award ceremony.

“We are again thrilled to be involved with the design competition,” says Chase W. Rynd, executive director of the National Building Museum. “Our mission is to inspire curiosity about the world we design and build, and what better way to do that than to engage with the next generation of architects and designers to showcase how an idea can grow into a tangible project.”

The 2018 competition was supported by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). Participants can use this experience to earn credit toward the NCARB Architectural Experience Program (AXP), which is a step on the path to earning a license.

“This year’s design challenge empowered students to explore how architects can improve the health and wellness of the public,” says NCARB CEO Michael J. Armstrong. “We are always looking for innovative ways to help prepare students for the responsibilities of licensure, which is why we are excited to support this competition for a second year.”

For the past two decades, the museum has collaborated with the three Washington-area chapters of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to organize the event; including AIA DC, AIA Northern Virginia, and AIA Potomac Valley, as well as the local architecture programs.

“The competition is exciting for students because it simulates real-world challenges and requires them to create, innovate, and collaborate in a new environment,” says Planning Committee Chair Sonia R. Jarboe, AIA, LEED AP BD+C. “I enjoy being able to work with my fellow architects to give back and inspire the future generation of architects.”

A video of the 2017 competition is available on the NCARB YouTube channel.

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