Student Success Stories

Design Village 2011

Over the recent spring break, 28 Diablo Valley College students participated in the Design Village Competition sponsored by California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. Of the five DVC teams competing, the ACE Club (Architecture, Construction and Engineering) team won both the People’s Choice Award for best overall design and the Creative Portals Award.

Winning ACE Club team participants were Alexis Dongallo, Ching “John” Cheng, Daniel Lorence, Meng “Coco” Li, Jinqiu “Rachel” Hu, and Bo Redtearn, with team advisor Joe Valdez.

Under the design concept of Social Parametrics, DVC students competed against 50 teams from 41 schools, including both universities and two-year programs.  

“We started the process in January, when the students formed teams and began designing their individual projects,” Valdez explained. “It’s impressive that our students won, as they’re competing against students from the New School of Architecture in San Diego, Cal Poly and many other four-year schools. It was really stiff competition.” 

As in past years, teams from across the United States designed and built a theme-based structure that had to meet several additional requirements:

  • the structure’s parts had to be hand carried along a mile-long trail into the Cal Poly Experimental Structures Lab canyon
  • the structure had to be assembled in 12 hours, without the use of plugged electricity, and
  • all team members had to live in their structure for the entire weekend.
  • The event is a challenging opportunity that produces creative and impressive results. The Social Parametrics theme this year had additional specific rules:
  • each team structure was required to incorporate three portals, and two of the three portals had to link to other structures
  • structures could not link either of the two required portals to structures from the same school
  • each structure had to consider the space created by its presence and its relationship to other structures

DVC’s winning ACE team #28 used US Postal Service triangle mailing containers, white foam-board, clear reinforced tape, and plastic sheeting to build the structure in which they actually lived for the weekend. Two expandable portals linked to the central living area. To highlight the Social Parametrics concept, the ACE team offered all visitors colorful Magic Markers to record comments and impressions of their structure.

Teams and their structures were professionally judged on Structural Craftsmanship, Creative Portal, Livable Space, Community Space, and Innovative Lighting. The People’s Choice Award was chosen by vote of visitors, judges, and other event participants.  This is the second year in a row that the DVC team has won the People’s Choice Award. Last year’s theme was Luxury Landfill and structures were required to be constructed from found or recycled material.

“The students come away from this weekend experience with an appreciation for team building,” Valdez said. “They have heated discussions about everything from design, materials and logistics, and while they push for their own ideas, they ultimately come together with one structure that they actually build. Many students don’t get to do this kind of thing until graduate school, so it’s a very good opportunity for them.”