STILLWATER — Architecture students had just 16 hours to design a downtown Oklahoma City elementary school.
It was grueling, said Sara Williams, a member of the Oklahoma State University team that won first place in the American Institute of Architects 2013 Central Region student design competition.
Yet it was fun at the same time, Williams said, because the four fifth-year architecture students on the team are friends outside the classroom.
The all-female team — or the Glam Squad as they are called in class — was composed of Williams, of Stillwater; Sarah Turner and Taylor Dearinger, of Tulsa; and Lauren Snow, of Flower Mound, Texas.
“It's been a male profession in the past,” said Randy Seitsinger, head of the OSU School of Architecture. But today one-third of OSU's architecture students are female, he said.
The American Institute of Architects region sponsored the student design competition during its annual fall conference in Oklahoma City. Students were given instructions at 8 a.m. and had to post their designs online by midnight.
“The time restraint made it very intense,” said Williams, but the team members were already working together on a class project. “We had a great dynamic going. It helped with the time restraint.”
“Students had to think quickly and think conceptually,” Seitsinger said.
They were challenged with designing a new elementary school in downtown Oklahoma City, based on a real project under construction at Sheridan and Walker avenues.
One of the jury members was Joe Pierce, principal of John W. Rex Elementary School, who gave the teams insight into the needs of the school in its unique context, Seitsinger said.
Two teams from OSU competed with two from the University of Oklahoma and one each from Kansas State University, Drury University and the University of Nebraska.
Each team was housed in an architectural firm. The host firm could give students some critiques, but the faculty couldn't be involved, Seitsinger said.
Architectural Design Group hosted the winning team.
“We camped out there all day,” Williams said.
The support in terms of resources, food and mid-afternoon critiques was very helpful, she said.
The team was awarded $1,000 to split among the members, and the School of Architecture will host the trophy until next year's competition.
“How strong the entries were speaks highly of architectural education in our region,” Seitsinger said.