Students from design programs in 12 western states will compete for a place in the association’s international competition in June.
On April 16, IA will host students from 29 undergraduate and graduate design programs in its Seattle office for the second annual Western Region Student Design Charrette (IIDA WRSDC) competition. Launched last year in Los Angeles, the competition invited 112 students from Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. The 2106 WRSDC will add students and IIDA chapters from Arizona, New Mexico, and Las Vegas to the regional mix.
The one-day event familiarizes students with the charrette process (read more about charrettes here) by inviting teams to tackle design challenges in limited periods of time, much like professional design competitions. The winners from local chapter charrette competitions are grouped into West Coast teams and one student member is identified to represent each chapter. Winners from the IIDA WRSDC edition will be awarded a trip to Chicago this summer during NeoCon to participate in the International Student Design Charrette.
“[At a local level,] the most interesting thing about the design charrette is how people with different backgrounds, styles and opinions worked together: In my team alone there were graduate students with full-time jobs and me, a freshman at the beginning of the learning process,” says Mikayla Wilson, an interior design student at Northern Arizona University. “In Seattle, I’m excited to work with people with even more varied backgrounds from different parts of the country.”
Julie Yuye Tian, a senior at Bellevue College pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design, will come to Seattle for her second regional design charrette with IIDA. “The charrettes opened my eyes to different projects that we didn’t get to cover in school,” she says. “It’s a great way to practice delivering what clients [or judges] want, and doing it in a limited amount of time.”
Hosting the competition at IA’s downtown Seattle office emphasizes a firm-wide commitment to education and professional development. The company’s West Coast offices dedicated resources to support the 2016 sponsorship.
“As a firm, our support of the IIDA WCRDC directly relates to our commitment to emerging professionals and design education,” says Richelle Nolan, IIDA, managing director of the firm’s Portland office. “It is important for industry leaders like IA to foster the exchange of ideas and creativity with events such as these—and ensure it is a mutually beneficial experience.”
Colin O’Malley, managing director in IA’s Silicon Valley office, praises the value of exposing students to the experience of working as a team and winning project work. “The intriguing part in this case is that student teams are made up of students from different schools, programs, years, perspectives—just like working at a firm after being hired,” he explains. “There isn’t yet a history of working with your team, developed over years and years and ‘battle wounds’ from shared project experience, so this is the best preparation a student can have for their first years with a firm.”