Building on the future: Architectural design students advance to state level competition

Architectural design students, sophomore Jose Torres and senior Russell Oplinger, competed in the SkillsUSA architecture competition held in Beaumont earlier this month and advanced to the state competion.

Jose placed 1st in the architectural drafting project while Russell earned 2nd in the same event to advance to state.

Russell also earned 1st place in computer aided drafting event, advancing to state in it as well. State will be held in Corpus Christi on April 6-10.

The architectural drafting project required students to first lay-out a build for the foundation of a home, then move up to the first floor plan where they had to build the walking structure, and then complete the project by constructing the roof shape and surrounding site plan.

Out of all the schools who competed, Bryan High is the only school that had plan projects advance to state. Drafting requires precise lines and exact measurements in order to make sure everything is structurally sound.

“The foundation was difficult because I had to align everything perfectly,” Jose said. “It would mess up everything else if it was just a little bit off.”

With the state competition in their sites, both boys plan to make the most of the time they have to enhance their projects and add any elements that could help them earn top marks at the next level.

“For state, I plan to make the house a little better as far as the structure goes and add as much detail as I can,” Jose said. “I’m going to do what they commented on in the last competition to be prepared for state. It’s important to take the advice they give me and use it to improve my project.”

Jose believes that having a passion for architecture is a great asset in this contest and helps pave the way for his future career.

“I want to be an architect one day,” Jose said. “I like the concept of building houses for other people and making it how they want it built.”

Architecture teacher Lance White is in his first year of teaching at Bryan High, but does have experience in the field as a contractor.

“Everyday both students learned a little bit more as they created their plans,” White said. “Russell already knew a lot, but Jose grew a lot each day just plugging away at creating the architecture plans and learning why we do what we do on the plans.”

Though White has experience in contracting, he recognizes that there are others in the field who could help the boys with more specialized portions of their design plans.

“I’m planning to bring in some architects that will help them,” White said. “They’ll come and critique the student plans because I can only take them to a certain level.”

Russell will also compete in computer aided drafting at the state level. This event utilizes a program to formulate models for architectural design giving students more of a feel for what it is like to produce plans in the real world.

“The project itself wasn’t difficult,” Russell said. “The difficult part was the amount of stuff I had to do to complete the project.”

Industry level electives allow for students to explore their interests and be able to go into something they find interesting with the right materials.

“I enjoy architecture because of the fact that it allows architects to design something that will become a home for a family to live in one day,” Russell said. “I enjoy working on all the minute details.”