UNM takes top honors
Students and faculty, from both the School of Architecture & Planning and the School of Engineering, collaborated on the winning project.

The University of New Mexico School of Architecture and Planning and School of Engineering took first place in the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) 2015 National Design-Build Student Competition, presented by the only organization that defines, teaches and promotes best practices in design-build. The only other student teams that advanced to the final round were the University of Washington and University of Colorado – Boulder. 

The three student finalist teams competed in front of a live jury and audience at DBIA’s Design-Build Conference & Expo in Denver, Colo. The teams presented before a panel of interviewers – mirroring the second phase of a true design-build competition – to answer questions and defend their design and construction plans for a science building on a college campus. The final winner, the University of New Mexico, was announced by the national jury during the morning general session.

“Educating the next generation in Design-Build Done Right is essential to preserving the momentum behind design-build’s growing use,” Lisa Washington, executive director/CEO of DBIA, said. “This is the fourth year we’ve held this competition, and I’m thrilled our finalists always include at least one new school, which demonstrates how quickly design-build curriculum is spreading. Yet while students may learn the essential curriculum in school, the DBIA Student Competition serves to promote the principles of team integration and familiarize students with the rigors of a design-build selection process.”

“Here at the University of New Mexico, we have a wealth of student talent and knowledge in the area of Design Build process through the School of Architecture and Planning and School of Engineering," said Kristina Yu, professor of architecture, SA+P. "We can look forward to the impact these students will have in architecture, design and construction, as they advance into the professions. Expect great things! This competition is only one of several interdisciplinary projects, research and studies between the SA+P and SOE to develop stronger, higher-skilled professionals. 

An interior perspective of the renovated power plant on the site. It was renovated to include an Earth Sciences Program for Pomona College.

"We thank the New Mexico DBIA for encouraging and supporting our first time entry of the UNM team. We look forward to greater collaborations in the future.”

John Clark, captain of the team, said, With team integration at the heart of design-build, the DBIA student competition offered the opportunity to step out of our respective programs and buildings and collaborate with equally talented and motivated architecture, landscape architecture, construction management and civil engineering students. Each team member contributed extensively to address the problem given. As with a truly collaborative environment, each member of the team became well versed in each other's language and the entire RFP by the final presentation. It is exciting to know that collaboration across disciplines at UNM can produce such national success. I am grateful for the opportunity to have contributed to this successful interdisciplinary team as a student.”

The UNM Design + Build Team included students and faculty from both the School of Architecture & Planning and the School of Engineering including:

John Clark (architecture, SA+P), team captain
Alex Hamada (architecture, SA+P)
Mike Pace (architecture and landscape architecture, SA+P)
Sam Rael (civil engineering and construction management, SOE)
Michael Roseborough (civil engineering and construction management,SOE)
Annica Mosow (construction management, SOE) student coach and alternate
Faculty Collaborator: Mark Russell (professor, civil engineering and construction management, SOE)
Faculty Advisor: Kristina Yu (professor of architecture, SA+P)

Under the direction of:
Director John Quale (professor of architecture, SA+P)
Chair Mahmoud Reda Taha (professor of civil engineering, SOE)

The competition began at the regional level with 31 teams of students from 26 universities from across the country competing. Student teams from leading design, construction and engineering universities across the country entered the competition to demonstrate design-build best practices by proposing a delivery solution to design and construct a more than 46,000-square-foot science building on the liberal arts campus of Pomona College in Calif.

Nine regional winners were selected to compete in the second phase of the competition based on their response to the initial RFQ. An RFP was then issued to those nine and the top three finalists were selected based on their responses.

DBIA’s 2015 National Design-Build Student Competition regional winning teams included:

  • California State University, Fresno: Western Pacific
  • Iowa State University: Midwest
  • NewSchool of Architecture & Design: Western Pacific
  • Roger Williams University: Northeast
  • Seminole State College of Florida: Southeast
  • University of Cincinnati: Central Northeast
  • University of Colorado Boulder: Rocky Mountain
  • University of New Mexico: Southwest
  • University of Washington: Northwest