Architectural engineering students receive top honors at AEI design competition

Team SYNERGY received first place honors in the construction, mechanical, structural and building integration categories at the AEI Student Design Competition 2017. Credit: Brianna BasileAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Department of Architectural Engineering AEI Student Design Competition team received first place honors in four of the five categories at the recent AEI Student Design Competition 2017 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Organized by the Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the contest challenged students to consider and address the engineering design, systems integration and construction necessary for a new sports performance center at Texas Tech University.

The competition emphasized the development and integration of innovation, original and technically sound solutions to design challenges, collaborations and peer reviews. Students were asked to create a building that integrated and optimized all major high-performance attributes in a building’s life cycle. Attributes include energy conservation, environment, safety, building security, structural and material durability, accessibility, cost-benefit, productivity, sustainability, functionality and operational considerations.

“This year’s project design requirements were relevant to the conference theme and also to the local setting in Texas. They were accelerated schedule, resiliency and WELL building performance,” Ryan Solnosky, research associate in architectural engineering and AEI Student Design Competition team adviser, said. “All three of these sought to provide the owner and community with a forward-thinking project that would support its occupants.”

The WELL Building Standard focuses on seven concepts that address the design and operation of buildings, and the impact and influence buildings have on human health and well-being.

Teams were judged in five categories, including structural, mechanical and lighting/electrical systems design; building integration; and construction management and methods. Teams were required to compete in the building integration category. To encourage collaboration and innovation, sustainable design strategies were also required. Honors for the competition included a first and second place in structural, mechanical, lighting/electrical systems design and construction management and methods, and two specialty awards in innovation in resiliency and innovation in WELL performance.

“Hans Butzer, interim dean of the Oklahoma University College of Architecture and award-winning architect, reminded the audience in his keynote address that ‘everyone has to buy-in to serve the great purpose.’ Perhaps this captures the spirit of the competition and the mission of architectural engineering,” Moses Ling, associate professor of architectural engineering, said.

The Department of Architectural Engineering’s team SYNERGY placed first in the construction, mechanical, structural and building integration categories. First place in building integration category is considered the highest honor awarded at the competition.

Team members include Jared Baughman, Giovanni Esposito, Angela Peretti, Jessica Smith, Lee Benzel, Bryanna Wilson, Lauren Boyle, Alec Broniszewski, Joseph Hacker and Rebecca McGowan. All team members are fifth-year architectural engineering students.

“We are extremely proud of our students and their accomplishments in this year’s AEI Student Design Competition. Our team showcased a feasible building that was technically designed and thoroughly integrated to provide the 'owner' with the best solution. This year’s team accomplished something no other Penn State team has done before — four first place awards for a single team,” Solnosky said.

The team’s technical advisers include Rick Mistrick, associate professor of architectural engineering; Craig Dubler, Penn State Office of Physical Plant Facility Asset Management program manager and instructor in architectural engineering; Ling and Solnosky. Practitioner advisers include John Reese, managing principal at Reese Engineering, and Robert Holland, a retired executive at Walt Disney Imagineering and former Penn State architecture and architectural engineering faculty member.

Both graduate and undergraduate students in accredited architectural engineering programs and programs actively seeking accreditation by EAC/ABET may participate in the competition with supervision and advisement by a faculty member. In addition to the Penn State team, this year’s finalists also included two teams from Nebraska and two from Lawrence Technological University. Penn State architectural engineering has never failed to qualify for the finals with any team that has entered the competition.

“It is evident that in each successful year of the competition, results are elevated by the students, which drives our team to constantly assess what more can be done and how can we stand out while providing realistic solutions,” Solnosky said.

ASCE, the oldest national engineering society, was founded in 1852 and represents more than 150,000 civil engineers worldwide. AEI, an institute within ASCE, was established in 1998 as the premier organization for architectural engineering. It provides its more than 8,000 members with timely technical information, professional advocacy, continuing education and opportunities to excel in their chosen careers.

Last Updated April 27, 2017