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K-State News
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University team places in international architectural, engineering competition

Monday, April 20, 2015


MANHATTAN — Kansas State University continued its winning ways in an annual international architectural and engineering competition by finishing as the runner-up in the event's structural design category.

The university's 10-member multidisciplinary team competed at the 2015 Architectural Engineering Institute Student Design Competition, March 25-26, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, sponsored by the institute and the American Society of Civil Engineers. The team included seven students in architectural engineering and two construction science and management students, all from the College of Engineering, and an architecture student from the College of Architecture, Planning & Design.

The competition, which annually attracts top architectural engineering students from the world's accredited architectural engineering degree programs, lets students showcase the value of innovation and education in architectural engineering and related fields by encouraging collaboration, research, innovation and peer review.

Projects are judged in five primary categories, including structural, mechanical, electrical engineering construction management and building integration. The top projects, including Kansas State University in all five categories, were invited to compete in Milwaukee.

The central challenge of this year's competition was the design, integration and construction issues related to an urban vertical farming concept in Milwaukee. The Kansas State University team significantly altered the given program, integrating the vertical farm into its surrounding neighborhood and optimizing the balance between aesthetic, function and long term sustainability of the operation.

"The K-State team pushed the envelope of current design solutions by introducing glass structural elements to improve views and transparency into and out of the complex," said team coordinator Russ Murdock, assistant professor of architectural engineering and construction science. "The team's design included a living biowall to improve indoor air quality; a fuel cell power source that also served the heating and cooling needs of the facility; and a sophisticated energy storage system to essentially allow the farm to operate as grid-neutral. In addition, a boundary-pushing project delivery method for design and construction let design and construction team members collaboratively arrive at design solutions that were of benefit to all facets of the project."

By placing as runner-up in the structural design category, Kansas State University remains the only architectural engineering program in the world that has placed in or won at least one of the categories in each of the competition's six years.

"I am extremely proud of this group of students and faculty for their excellent performance in representing three programs in two colleges at Kansas State University," said Ray Yunk, head of the department of architectural engineering and constructions science. "This continues our tradition of strong showings at high level student design competitions."

The following students are members of the Kansas State University team:

John Gaito, architectural engineering, Berryton; Nick McGee, architectural engineering, Clay Center; Alex Pint, architectural engineering, Leawood; Tyler Henley, construction science and management, Lenexa; Brad Halbleib, construction science and management, Oakley; Ryan Whelchel, architectural engineering, Solomon.

From out of state: Kate Gutierrez, architecture, Fullerton, California; Jarrod Zaborac, architectural engineering, Liberty, Missouri; Casey Stallbaumer, architectural engineering, Stewartsville, Missouri; and Sean Reed, architectural engineering, Warrensburg, Missouri.

Along with Murdock, faculty advisers, all from the architectural engineering department, included Chris Ahern, assistant professor; Bill Zhang, assistant professor; and Shannon Casebeer, instructor.


Ray Yunk


Architectural Engineering and Construction Science department

Department of Architecture

News tip

Berryton, Clay Center, Leawood, Lenexa, Oakley and Solomon, Kansas; Fullerton, California; and Liberty, Stewartsville and Warrenburg, Missouri