High School Design Competition

2017 Santa Barbara County High School
Architectural Design Competition Winners

Name School Grade
First Place Annebel van der Meulen Dos Pueblos 12
Second place Blanca Diaz St. Joseph’s 11
Third Place Sullivan Israel Laguna Blanca 10
Honorable Mention Allison Larinen Dos Pueblos 12
Honorable Mention Vivian Zhan Dunn School 11

Have you ever imagined how much fun it would be to design a home for yourself or create a unique building in town? Be the first of your friends to take part in a design charrette (pronounced Shuh-ret): A fast-paced, exciting, mind expanding, and creative experience designing a building or space in a limited amount of time. Past design charrettes have challenged students to create everything from:

  • A home for returning recovering war veterans
  • A community center
  • A youth hostel
  • A desert research center for a University
  • A tiny-house community for homeless families

You find out what you will be designing when you arrive at the charrette. You design a building based on an entirely new written design program. Although you may be one of 50 designers at the charrette, no two solutions will be alike. There is no right or wrong design. Each student will address the issues presented in their unique way bringing experiences and insights to their work.

You can draw, sketch, paint or use any media to illustrate your ideas on paper. Architects will then evaluate your work and select 12 finalists, who will later be invited to appear at a Jury Review to present their design to a panel of four design professionals and educators. Competition winners will then be determined.

  • The competition is open to all 9th- to 12th-grade students in any Santa Barbara County school.
  • There is no cost to the students or their schools to enter.
  • Food is provided for students during the Charrette and for those attending the Jury Review.
  • Certificates of Participation are awarded to all participants, with special cash awards and prizes for the 12 finalists.
  • Student designers must arrange to be dismissed from regular classes the day of the charrette and have transportation to and from the event site.
  • This is an “open book” competition. You may bring reference materials, including your phone, tablet, or laptop.
  • Your completed work will be done by hand, on paper provided to you.

Drafting skills are not required, but you must draw with drafting tools or freehand to scale. That means that your drawings have to be measured. This is required so you can be sure that the room you design – for example a bedroom – is large enough to contain a 6’-0” x 5’-0” bed, a dresser, and more.

You will find several helpful movies that explain design creativity, scale, and drawing techniques, and other competition material. Contact the Architectural Foundation for more information at (805) 965-6307.

High School Design Competition Entry Form

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How can you sign up to participate in this Competition’s Design Charrette?
A: It’s easy, let your teacher, counselor or advisor know that you are interested in participating by and have them notify the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara office 805-965-6307 or you may call directly. It is important to let the competition sponsors know so they can prepare the charrette site to be ready for you.

Q: How should I dress for a charrette?
A: Dress comfortably, but in layers. The competition site can be chilly in the morning and warm in the afternoon.

Q: What can I expect when I arrive at the design charrette?
A: The charrette is held in a high school gym with about 25 long tables set up. You will choose a workstation at one of the tables and set up your tools for the event. You will be welcomed, given an introduction to the charrette, then the Design Program will be read. This is a description of the building or structure you will be designing. You will be given a design packet including a copy of the Design Program and the drawing paper for your presentation.

For the next 6+ hours, you’ll design, sketch, and draw your project.
At the end of the day after you leave, the architect-judges will review your designs and score them on a numerical basis. The tweleve highest-scoring designers will be invited to participate in the Juried Review.

Q: What will I have to draw to complete the design charrette?
A: You will receive three, 18” x 24” sheets of drawing paper in your design packet. One will be have a pre-printed site plan of where your project will be built. It will show roads, site slopes, trees, and whatever else might impact your design. You will draw the building you design and other site elements on that sheet. The other two sheets will be blank. On those you will draw the following:

  • Floor Plan at 1⁄4” per foot scale of your design (1⁄4” scale)
  • One exterior elevation of your design
  • One other drawing to illustrate your design idea. This could be another elevation, a sketch, a perspective or whatever you think would get your idea across to the judges and jury.

You will draw your site plan, floor plan and elevation to scale with drafting tools or freehand. That means that these drawings must be measured. This is required so you can be sure that the room you design, for example a bedroom, is actually large enough to contain a 6’-0” x 5’-0” bed, and a dresser, etc. The judges also will gauge whether your design fits the criteria of the design program.

Q: How do I get to the charrette site?
A: You must arrange for your transportation, through your school or individually, to the site. Carpooling is encouraged. The site is announced a few weeks before the competition, which is usually held in spring.

Q: What do I need to bring to the charrette?
A: Bring a completed Registration Form to the Charrette site the day of the event.
Fill it out completely, especially whether or not you will be able to attend the Juried Review if you are selected as a finalist. This is extremely important.
Bring your own design tools, please, including:

  • Drawing Board at least 18”x 24” and not much larger
  • Straight edge (T-Square) if you intend to draft your drawings
  • Triangles and templates
  • Eraser and erasing shield
  • Scale, Architectural, 1⁄8” and 1⁄4”
  • Sketching and scratch paper
  • Dusting brush
  • Drafting tape
  • Any reference material

Especially bring your creativity! Your insights, experiences and individuality, your critical thinking and reading skills and your desire to do the best you can. You may bring your phone or other musical device with earphones.

Q: What don’t I need to bring to this event?
A: Food. The sponsors will provide, at no cost, morning and afternoon snacks for you as well as a healthy and nutritious lunch. Drinks are included. You may, however, bring food of your own if you wish.

Paper for your final design presentation – 18” x 24”paper, either plain sheets or graph paper, will be provided.

Q; What if I don’t know anything about drafting, scale, design, or architecture but I really want to design a building? How can I prepare for this event?
A: Well, glad you asked that. There are two ways you could prepare for this charrette

  1. Watch some interesting videos which will introduce you to basic ideas about design, creativity drawing and presentation and scale.
  2. Contact the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara office 805.965.6307 or email us to arrange a workshop led by an architect at your school or at the Architectural Foundation office in downtown Santa Barbara or another convenient location in Santa Barbara County.

Q: What if I win?
A: A Certificate of Participation will be issued to all designer completing the charrette. The twelve finalists, in addition to receiving a Finalist Certificate, have an opportunity to win awards and cash prizes as follows:

  • First Place $300
  • Second Place $200
  • Third Place $150
  • Two Honorable Mention Awards $100
  • Finalist Awards $50

Q; Who is responsible for this event?
A: Our three very generous and helpful sponsors:

  • Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara
  • Santa Ynez Valley Rotary Club
  • Santa Barbara County Education Office, Regional Occupation Program

High School Design Competition Entry Form