The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) has announced the winners of the 2016 National DiscoverDesign Competition. The annual youth competition invites high school students from across the country to address a pressing social issue through architectural design. This year’s prompt asked participants to “identify a specific audience in need of affordable housing.”

“Since its inception the National DiscoverDesign Competition has served as a catalyst for surfacing innovative ideas from students all across the country,” said Gabrielle Lyon, vice president of education and experience of CAF, in a press release. “The competition challenges youth to apply math and science skills, research and empathy to solve problems using the design process. The problems they solve are real ones—and the diversity of participants and solutions are a great reflection of the talent of young people from across America.”

Five jurors chose 10 finalists from 150 entries representing 30 schools in 12 states. Two first place winners were awarded all-expense paid trips to Chicago and second and third place winners were awarded gift certificates to the CAF’s architectural gift shop. This year’s jurors included Maya Bird-Murphy of Valerio Dewalt Train Associates, Nancy Firfer, senior advisor at the Metropolitan Planning Council, Kerl Lejeune senior design manager for the Public Building Commission of Chicago, Adam Rosa, principal at Camiros, and Douglas A. Smith, managing principal at Perkins+Will.

Students participating in the competition were asked to assemble entries that included renderings sketches, drawings, and models, along with short essays responding to the prompt.

First place was awarded to Denilson Saavedra of Lindblom Math and Science Academy, Chicago, Illinois and Antonio Trejo of the Advanced Technologies Academy, Las Vegas, Nevada. The second place winner was Meejan Patal of the Atlanta International School, Atlanta, Georgia, and third place went to Andrew Shepherd of the Advanced Technologies Academy, Las Vegas, Nevada.


Virtual tour of second place entry by Meejan Patal (Meesan Patal)

DiscoverDesign is an online learning site that is focused on connecting teens interested in architecture to design professionals and educators. The site was recently redesigned to provide more resources to students and mentors, as well as host the annual high school competition.

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