DBIA Students Create Campus Competition

Building Science students in Gorrie Center Vis Lab presenting at the 2020 DBIA Competition

Fifth-year architecture student Anthony Spafford is the president of Auburn’s student chapter of Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA). Every year, he and his classmates look forward to competing in design-build competitions at other schools. When Spafford heard that this year’s competitions were cancelled due to COVID-19, he pitched the idea of an internal competition to CADC DBIA advisors Assistant Professor of Building Science Alan Bugg and Visiting Assistant Professor of Architecture Alyssa Kuhns, who quickly agreed to support it.

Based on suggestions from economic development officials at the City of Auburn, students worked in teams to create proposals for a local business incubator building. Each team was made up of architecture and building science students, which provided an opportunity for students in these related disciplines to bond over shared interests and to learn from one another. The teams delivered project plans, sections, renderings, cost estimates and schedules as well as PowerPoint presentations. “What’s unique to design-build competitions is that you’re pitching your proposal as if you were a company pitching a project,” said Spafford, “so it is kind of like real life.” On October 30, the teams presented their proposals to a panel of judges which included Bugg, Kuhns and Spafford. Two representatives from the City of Auburn, Arndt Siepmann, Deputy Director of Economic Development, and Caitlin Myers, Economic Development Manager, also served as judges.

The team that won the ‘Best Design’ award included architecture students Channing Brodie and Gieun Kwon as well as building science students Mitchell Eddleman, Emme Fisher and Mikhaila Timmons. The team that received the ‘Best Overall’ award included architecture students Jonathan Grace and Paxtyn Whitney and building science students Alex Adams, Hudson Dorough and Macy Walker.

Katherine Buck Chastain, Administrator of Recruitment for CADC, said she was extremely pleased with how Spafford and other students pulled together to make the competition a reality. “I’m so proud of Anthony and his team. There have been talks about wanting competition teams to be a little bit more accessible for a long time, but nobody has ever taken it off the ground,” she said. “Leave it to Anthony and his classmates to be able to actually make it happen.”