The sky’s the limit for three Westlake High School students who placed third in the 52nd annual Architectural Foundation of San Francisco’s (AFSF) high school design competition.
Senior Mickey Hamila and juniors Mantas Viazmitinas and JP Mogyordy spent over 10 weeks designing a public waterfront “playground” at South Beach Piers 38-40 along San Francisco’s Embarcadero.
The students were tasked with creating a 22,900 square foot space, featuring a community kiosk, a public plaza, an art walk and a boat launch. Viazmitinas said his group was inspired by a number of different places when they were creating their design.
“We looked at various inspirational architectural features in San Francisco, and around the globe, as well, and just kind of getting different themes of the location and everything to kind of create a unique, combined look of a building that would fit right on that pier of San Francisco,” Viazmitinas said.
The students were enrolled in the Technical Drawing/Design 3&4 Honors course. In this course, students learned about engineering, architecture, design, problem solving and innovation, said teacher Scott Kutz.
Along with their full design, the students had to compile a presentation of their initial research, sketches, designs and renderings into a video, as well as into a Google slide deck. Kutz said one of the biggest challenges of the project was time management, as well as creating an entire design from scratch.
“So essentially designing from a clean slate, absolutely no references, they had to do a lot of research, we did a lot of brainstorming,” Kutz said. “To overcome that, to be able to design what the project description required was a huge, huge hurdle to get over.”
For Viazmitinas, working on a project like this and seeing it to fruition was something very special to him.
“It was absolutely thrilling because we never actually expected to win,” Viazmitinas said. “We saw that there were over 100 different participants… and when we saw that we placed third, it was absolutely shocking and it was just a thrill because we knew that our hard work paid off.”
The AFSF competition, which is usually held for Bay Area high school students only, decided to open the competition to any high schoolers wishing to participate. Kutz and his students found out they could participate in February and worked diligently on their projects until the May 21 deadline.
Using a software called Revit, the students were able to create a computer-aided design (CAD) of their projects.
“Our team has had a few years of experience and we incorporated that experience in creating the designs that we drew up on our sketches,” Viazmitinas said.
Ryan Lee, senior associate at Woods Bagot North America, said in an email the design process is too early to tell if any of the submitted designs will be used for the final design of the project. However, he said the developer Pacific Waterfront Partners was “elated” to see all of the designs submitted by students and will feature the winning designs on their website.
The competition had 140 entries from five states and five different countries. Kutz had two other groups from his class compete, a duo and an individual project. Hamila, Viazmitinas and Mogyordy won a $100 cash prize.
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