Architecture club wins at Design Village

By Ivan Cazares and Stephanie Garibay

For the first time, members of the East Los Angeles College Architecture Club were awarded the most habitable award at the 2015 Design Village.

The winning team Circadian Rhythms included members Ivan Hu, Saul Navarro, Matthew Rivera, Eddie Ramirez and Thomas Gin.

Circadian Rhythms was one of three ELAC teams included in the competition, but was the only team to win an award.

The Design Village, held this year from April 17-19, is a yearly competition hosted by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s prestigious undergraduate architecture program.

Design Village is held in the natural environment of Poly Canyon.

The competition takes place on Poly Canyon Village. The site is full of experimental structures built by previous Cal Poly San Luis Obispo students.

Participants choose a site on a first come first serve basis, but they may not incorporate any of the existing structures into theirs.

The teams must assemble their structure on the first day of the competition.

They must have a poster board explaining their structure ready to present to the judges the next day. They must clean their site and remove any stakes, wires or any other material before they leave on the third day.

Competitors are required to hike up a mile long trail while carrying the shelters they built. They are not allowed to use any type of transportation besides their two feet.

Shelters can be carried up assembled or unassembled.

“It was a lot of teamwork. We had five people working in tandem. Perfect teamwork, I would say that’s why I love my teammates,” Ivan Hu said.

“We had one person in the front, one person in each corner and one person in the back holding both corners and then we walked up the mile long trail.”

Teams must consist of 2-6 students, and they must all check in before any of them enter the canyon.

They are not allowed to alter the site by grading or excavating, but they are allowed to reposition rocks and flatten tall grass.

They may not use a gas-powered generator and no outlets are provided. However, participants are allowed use of batteries, or solar power.

The shelter created by Circadian Rhythm took the team two weeks to complete, which they did during their spring break.

“These guys didn’t have a spring break. This is what they spent their spring break doing. They might have spent a couple weeks before coming up with a plan, but their spring break was building this,” adviser James Kawahara said.

Although Kawahara is the adviser for the club, he has minimal involvement in the projects.

“This is all the students. Of course I can tell them no this idea is not good, or something like that, but ultimately this is all the work of the students,” Kawahara said.

The current board or judges of this year’s design village consists of third year architecture majors.

“When everything is on display and all the pieces are being judged, we cannot show our school name. They only give us team numbers, which makes it fair for all of us. There (were) a lot of third and four year students so it was a really tight competition. (It was) really excruciating, but a lot of fun,” Hu said.

Each year the competition has a different theme, but its main focus is for competitors to design and build shelters in which they must live in for two days.

This year’s theme was called clockwork. As the design village’s website describes it, clockwork “explores the changing perceptions of time and space and the dialogue between organic systems and the technological ones developed to situate humanity within the environment,” Hu said.

“Every team has to do their own (interpretation) of clockwork and ours was about time. And what time means to every individual, which is daylight and nighttime. So we built a structure that controls how much sunlight and wind a person gets.”

Design Village is a nationwide competition where the architectural department of any school can participate, although most of the schools in the competition are schools in California, such as the University of Southern California.

For the members of Circadian Rhythms this was their last year being able to represent ELAC at the Design Village.

“We are all transferring in the fall, so this was our last representation for our department and to see what our skill level is compared to other schools,” Hu said.

This year was particularly special for the Architecture Club, since all the funding came from family, friends, some ELAC alumni and some advisers.

“We want to thank a lot of our families, friends, professors and some ELAC alumni. With all their support, we have been able to fund enough money to support this project,” Hu said.

The total cost of the project was an estimated $4,300 to build and construct their piece.

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