VHS Students Sweep Indiana High School Architectural Design Competition

Senior Henry Youngren reviews his design.Henry Youngren (senior), Grace Provenzano (senior), Karli LoDuca (junior), Charles Swayne (junior) each received Awards of Excellence. Brett Otterbacher (senior), Jacob Reese (junior),  Lillian Maldia (junior), Gustave Stralnic (junior), OIlivia Lozano (sophomore) earned Honor Awards. 

Everyone’s designs were extremely unique, intricate, and well done,” said senior Grace Provenzano. “I am extremely proud of my school and peers for sweeping this year’s competition.” 

The competition held by the Indiana Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Indiana) traditionally distributes only eight awards but requested an additional award be given this year to accommodate the judging panel’s decision.

VHS STEM Instructor Tarik El-Naggar said, “I was confident that they would do well in this year's competition. However, I did not expect that Valparaiso High School students would not only take every award but that an additional award would be added to accommodate all of our entries.”

Each year, the competition requires students to create a comprehensive architectural design based on a specific concept set by the AIA Indiana. Previous years have included designs for a drone port facility and a retreat center for musicians. “These are building types that can be referenced only by inference,” said El-Naggar. This year’s concept appeared simple - a building in the downtown area of a small town but presented its fair share of challenges. 

“The competition really challenged me to think about how the building would impact those around it, which is one of, if not the most, important aspects of architecture,” said senior Henry Youngren. 

Youngren, who will attend Carnegie Mellon for Architecture in the fall credits his future plans to the course opportunities at Valparaiso High School. “My experience with the architecture course here at VHS has convinced me that architecture is indeed the career I want to pursue,” Youngren explained. 

The recently renovated STEM wing at Valparaiso High School is home to courses like civil engineering and architecture, PLTW engineering courses, biomedical science programming, and robotics design. 

“It is my hope that Valparaiso High School will be recognized for its unique offerings by families and future students around Indiana and the Midwest who might be considering Architecture, Town Planning, and or Civil Engineering as a future area of study or career,”  El-Naggar said.

El-Naggar’s experience as a practicing architect with expertise in town planning and digital design has without a doubt excelled the programming at Valparaiso High School. Senior Brett Otterbacher said of his teacher, “We are very thankful to have such a highly qualified and interested teacher. He wants us to not only be successful in the workforce, but to truly be great citizens.”

To learn more visit www.valparaisohigh.valpo.k12.in.us.