Judson Architecture Students Design Prototypes for the Disaster Shelter Competition | Judson University Christian College
Judson Architecture Students Design Prototypes for the Disaster Shelter Competition

(Elgin, IL - April 5, 2012) Students of the sophomore architecture studio class at Judson University have been hard at work preparing for the next natural disaster. For the first time, the sophomore students are competing in the Disaster Shelter Competition, sponsored by World Vision and John Brown University, to design and build a prototype of an emergency shelter for rapid deployment and set-up. The winning design will be used by aid organizations to respond to natural or man-made disasters anywhere in the world. Arch Competition 

This week, the students constructed prototypes of their designs and hosted a campus-wide vote to determine the best of two designs that the class has entered for the official competition on April 20-21 at John Brown University (JBU) in Siloam Springs, Ark. Six students slept in the two prototypes overnight on Tuesday, April 3, along with one member from each design team. A campus wide vote was held Wednesday, April 4 from 1 - 4 p.m. in Room 221 of the Harm A. Weber Academic Center, which houses the School of Art, Design and Architecture. 

“This is a first for the sophomore studio class because they usually work on residential design only,” says Professor Stacie Burtelson. “But our faculty felt that this class is up to the challenge, and they have really taken on the task with passion and it shows in their work.” 

Burtelson also explained that Judson is the only architecture program to enter the competition; the rest of the contestants come from engineering programs at other universities. 

“We felt that this was an important opportunity because less than three percent of the world’s architects are humanitarian in their efforts,” she says. “We want to instill that humanitarian focus in our students and help them integrate their education and their faith to answer the question, ‘How can I be both an architect and a Christian?’ We can address the world’s problems by following Christ’s call to fulfill basic human needs.” 

The semester-long project began in early January, and each of the 24 students were expected to design a preliminary concept, followed by a critique to narrow down the choices. From the preliminary critique, six designs were chosen, and the 24 students separated into six teams to refine the designs and prepare for the next critique, held on February 29. The February critique invited several practitioners to survey their work and choose the top two designs. Once the top two were chosen, the class split into two teams to make revisions and prepare full-scale prototypes for this week's campus-wide critique. 

Although both designs will be entered into the official competition at JBU, the campus-wide vote is essential, explains Burtelson, because it was the first time that students were able to fully test the viability of their work and make necessary adjustments. The students will be expected to construct their prototypes again at the JBU competition. The whole class will be in attendance on April 20-21, but only four students from each team will be allowed to represent their designs and assemble the prototypes.

A winner for Judson's campus-wide competition will be announced later today, says Burtelson. A final critique with professors and practitioners is slated for Wednesday, April 18.

Sponsorship of more than $1,500 is still needed to help offset the costs of building the structures and housing the students as they travel down to Arkansas. A truck to drive the prototypes down to Arkansas is also needed, says Burtelson. To support the sophomore studio class in one or more of these capacities, contact Stacie Burtelson at sburtelson@judsonu.edu.

Judson University is an evangelical Christian liberal-arts and sciences university located in Elgin at Illinois 90 and State Road 31. It also has a campus in Rockford, Ill. Since 1963, Judson University has provided the Fox River Valley with a Christian, liberal arts education by offering four-year degrees in more than 60 majors and minors; graduate programs in architecture, literacy and organizational leadership; and online and accelerated adult degree programs. To learn how you can prepare for a successful career and experience Judson’s Christian community, sign up for our campus-wide Preview Day on April 13 by visiting JudsonU.edu. 

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