May 14, 2004

Southwestern College Architecture Students Win Design Village Award

CHULA VISTA — Seven Southwestern College (SWC) architecture students spent spring break at a very special place, a village they built and perfected themselves using bamboo, dowels, and twine. Their homemade project ended up winning them a “Best Use of Materials” award and became one of the people’s favorites at the California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo’s annual Design Village Competition.


Seven Southwestern College architecture students spent spring break at a very special place, a village they built and perfected themselves using bamboo, dowels, and twine. Their homemade project ended up winning them a “Best Use of Materials” award and became one of the people’s favorites at the California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo’s annual Design Village Competition.

“Everyone was very happy. We all put forth our best effort. It was worth the lost sleep,” said Omar Franco, an SWC Architecture student who, together with Amaranta Campos, Yolanda Velazco, Alex Fishman, Brandon Vielguth, Cesar Alessandrini, and Diana de la Torre, designed and built the award-winning structure. “It was really exciting, especially since most of us were first-timers.”

“Sustain-a-Build, Come Help Take the Stain Out of Sustainability” was the theme of the 2004 Design Village Competition, which included 22 teams from several states and Canada. For the unique and intensive three-day event, the SWC team built a structure in the shape of a plus sign completely out of bamboo and used no nails or metal fasteners. A requirement of the competition is that every student involved in the construction must sleep in it for two nights.

“It was really cold and windy. I was not able to sleep,” added Franco.

And neither did the other students who, in addition to building the structure, had to transport it by hand about one mile up Poly Canyon on a dirt road to the judging area.

The SWC team won first place for “Best Use of Materials” and second place “People’s Choice” for best overall design.

“We have competed three times and this is the first time we’ve taken a first place,” said Tom Rogo, SWC Architecture Professor and the team’s advisor. “We are really proud of our students and their efforts.”

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