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KHS students represent in annual AIA contest


KHS students represent in annual AIA contest
By Noelle H. Lowery


Kodiak High School’s Architectural Design students fared well in during the recent 52nd Annual American Institute of Architects Alaska (AIA) Frank Maier High School Design Competition.

Junior Kiae Shin placed second, winning $400, and senior Kelsey Mae Pascual received an Honorable Mention and a $50 award.
Sponsored by AIA Alaska, the Frank Maier High School Design Competition was launched by Maier himself in 1965, and the Juneau-based architect personally managed it for the first 20 years.  Upon his death in 1991, AIA Alaska took the reins.
From its start, the competition was focused on exposing Alaskan high school students to architecture and the profession while challenging them to design a variety of building types on a number sites of Alaskan relevance. Past programs included both rural and urban sites for a wide range of facilities, such as a Library of the Future, Rural Air Taxi Facility, Talkeetna Ski Chalet, Urban Coffee House, Youth Hostel, Wellness Retreat, Wilderness Retreat, Whale Watching Census Station, Visitor Centers and Mt. Denali Cabin.
The program has evolved to encourage student’s development of computer aided design (CAD) and building information modeling (BIM) software skills.  Energy efficient and sustainable design solutions also now are emphasized. In addition to providing high school students with professional feedback on their design submissions, all entrants are provided with a certificate of participation.
This year’s contest — “Alaska Commemorative Museum” — focused on designing a museum celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Alaska Treaty of Cession in 1867 when the United States purchased the territory Russian claimed in North America. The U.S. paid $7.2 million for the territory. That is about two cents per acre.
The program challenged students to develop a regional museum commemorating the importance of a region of the State, whether their home region or one in which they are interested. The objective was to find a theme for the regional museum that highlights its importance in Alaska’s history. This focus could be on native heritage, resources, the military, education, science, tourism or whatever has been an important part of that specific region of the Alaska.
Students also had to pick a site for the project and provide a site plan. The main questions they were to ask themselves included:
  • How can the design create overlapping activities for an engaging atmosphere? 
  • How is day lighting used? 
  • How does the building relate to the natural setting? 
  • How is the character of the building purpose expressed? 

The issues of focus when designing the facility were:

  • Site orientation 
  • Natural lighting 
  • Security 
  • Site development 
  • Use of different parts of the building at different times of the day
  • Relationship of high-traffic, high-noise spaces to quiet spaces 
  • Visibility of the building 
  • Views from the building
  • Sustainability (ways to ventilate or naturally heat and cool the building) 
  • Circulation inside and outside the building
  • Relationship to the surrounding context

Parameters for the design were:

  • Total square footage of 3,829 square feet
  • A facility of no more than two stories or an overall height 40 feet
  • An obvious main entrance with a covered exterior area 
  • Other exterior doors providing access to outdoor spaces and as needed for egress
  • Compliance with the International Building Code, 2011 Edition and the Federal requirements for accessibility (ADA)
  • Some open and overlapping program space 
  • Programmed spaces do not have to be separate rooms

Student submissions included a detailed composite drawing (22”x34”), depicting a floor plan, two elevations and sectional views. Three-dimensional models were optional. Students began working on their projects on Jan. 20, and were required to have them finished and postmarked by April 28. Submissions were judged by quality of design and creativity (40 percent); success in satisfying design requirements (30 percent); graphic quality, such as presentation, clarity and line weight (20 percent); and completeness (10 percent).

KHS students’ participation in the AIA competition stresses the importance of STEAM classes and Career Technical Education (CTE) in public education. Kodiak Island Borough School District’s CTE curriculum offers seven Career Clusters that direct students to industry certifications and university degree programs. Those Career Clusters are:
  • Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
  • Architecture & Construction
  • Arts, A/V Technology & Communications
  • Business, Management & Administration
  • Manufacturing
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
  • Transportation, Distribution & Logistics

For more information about KHS’s CTE programs, visit