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U Architecture Students Take Prestigious National Design Competition

A winning architectural design

December 1, 2006 — Chicago’s lakefront can be blustery at this time of year, but recently judges at the Metal Construction Association’s (MCA’s) ninth annual Student Competition were treated to visions of what could occur in the summer months on Lake Michigan’s shores.

A panel of seven judges recently reviewed 123 designs submitted by students from 20 universities across North America for a new beach house, waterfront amphitheatre, observation tower, and a restaurant to be located at Montrose Harbor, about six miles north of downtown Chicago.

The judges awarded first and second place in the 2006 MCA Student Design Competition to designs by students from the University of Utah School of Architecture + Planning in Salt Lake City. Matthew T. Hintze won first place and Michael Dolan won second. Both students were sponsored by Associate Professor Patrick Tripeny.

Third place went to Sung Park, a student in the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois – Chicago sponsored by Adjunct Assistant Professor Karla Sierralta.

Honorable mentions went to students from the University of Illinois – Chicago, the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, the University of Kansas, and the University of Texas at Austin.

For the first place entry, Matthew Hintze will receive $2500, his school $1500, and his faculty sponsor $500. Michael Dolan will be awarded $1500 for his second place entry, $750 will go to the school, and $250 to the faculty sponsor. The $500 third prize goes to Sung Park. His school will receive $250 and his faculty sponsor will receive $50.

Tripeny noted that evaluating the site was difficult. His students spent six weeks on their designs, working about two weeks as groups of two or three and then for four weeks as individuals. “Their biggest challenge was definitely the site-understanding the harbor and where the views were, how people move across it, and the role of the park in the larger context of the lakefront, the area around it, and its relationship to the rest of Chicago. They pulled up everything they could find from the library and books on Chicago parks and did a number of Internet searches that included viewing online aerial maps.”

Third-place winner Sung Park had the advantage of being located in Chicago and personally visiting the site. “We visited the site as a class, but the students also had the opportunity to visit the site multiple times at different hours and days individually. All 18 of the students in my class submitted entries and started working on them on August 28, but their biggest challenge was time,” said Park’s sponsor Karla Sierralta. This was the first time she sponsored students in a competition of this type.

Now in its ninth year, this annual MCA competition offers a chance for students in schools of architecture to learn about designing and building with metal. Entrants must address architectural, structural, functional, cultural, and environmental issues in the design of a project that uses metal in sheets or other forms as well as metal structural members.

Plans also had to utilize “green building” concepts as defined by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED building standards. Metal, a completely recyclable material with high recycled content, was required as the primary structural material and for architectural applications but other materials could also be specified in the design.

MCA is an organization of manufacturers and suppliers whose metal products are used in structures throughout the world. The association promotes the use of metal in construction through education, marketing support, technical programs, monitoring of industry issues and achievement awards. The Student Design Competition is just one of MCA’s design award programs.

For pictures of the winning designs please go to or contact Sarah Walsh at 847-375-4831 or