At the end of January, the sixth annual NAIT Architectural Technology student design competition awards reception were held and NAIT students were honoured with awards for innovative design of a fictional ATB Financial branch.

NAIT Architectural Technology students competed to win this design contest, which was sponsored by ATB Financial and Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning Ltd. ATB Financial asked the students to design a building for a fictional site in downtown Medicine Hat. It was required to be an innovative and functional bank branch that incorporated concepts of environmental sustainability.

There were several prizes awarded for a grand total of $8,500 in award money given out. Kory Andel received $2,000, second place winner Kienna Gibbard received $1,500 and third-place winner Carolyn Fillion received $1,000. Thomas Principe received the $1,000 Kasian Award for Design Innovation. The other finalists were Rachel Johnson, Braydon Kennedy, Ji Won Kim, Kiriana Musselman, Thomas Principe, Phat Tang and Kelsey Wilkinson.

According to Andel, it takes long nights and being open to reworking the original design to create a winning project. His initial design changed radically over the course of the last semester although the fundamental concept was not modified from start to finish. The word he chose to embody his vision was “shift.” He feels this word best expresses how keeping an open mind allows the shift in perception that can take an idea from commonplace to award winning.

“I believe that success in business and design comes from approaching ideas with an open mind. This allows for a mental change of perspective to occur,” he said. “That is what I call a mental shift. Once this foundation was established, it allowed me to create a visual representation of this idea.”

The students had to construct the building from the inside out and it was the interior floor plans that Kory struggled with the most. In fact, the interior of his final 3D computer model ended by being reworked entirely in the weekend before the project was due.

If one of the goals of the contest is to have the students working with the 3D modeling programs and to become proficient in them, it definitely achieved its aim in Kory’s experience. By the end of the semester, Kory was flying through the model creation process on the computer in order to make all the changes he needed. Of the 96 hours in the last four days, Kory spent 80 of them at work on his final model.

“I spent a lot of time over thinking my layout and exterior form but as the last weekend approached, I finally was able to pull everything together and present my ideas clearly. I learned that I needed to let go of the time constraints and the ideas of what my project should look like and let my ideas form into something that I appreciated,” he said.

Jennifer Rae
Image from Natasha Brumwell-Blessing

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