12 New Trier Township High School students, finalists in an architecture class contest to develop the lakefront lot at 1330 Sheridan Rd. in Wilmette, presented their plans to judges.
Senior Becky Greenberg, pictured here with Quincy Ikler and Max Jablow, took the top prize in the contest.
Greenberg’s curvaceous, two-level structure features inverse concave and convex shaped balconies, an open floor plan and energy efficient solar panels.
“Everyone told me you’re not going to win, because nobody does a curvy house,” says Greenberg, who will be studying architecture at Washington University in St. Louis next year. “I took a huge risk with this, and it paid off.”
According to New Trier architecture teacher Josh Wood, most high school students don’t have the opportunity to design projects for an actual lot, let alone to work on a project that might actually be built. But thanks to Wilmette residents Peter and Robin Baugher, who bought the lot next door to their Sheridan Road home last year and were looking for new development ideas, Wood’s class had just such an opportunity.
“It’s so much more exciting when there’s a design competition on a real site,” explains Wood, whose 24 architecture students spent this semester doing many of the exact same things real-world architects do: meeting with prospective clients (the Baughers) and designing a single family home to be built using eco-friendly and universal design principles.
Coming in second and third place respectively were sophomores Brad Miller, whose dynamic design featured an angled roof resembling an open piano top and senior Eric Zuckerman, whose design also featured steeply pitched rooftops, creating a silhouette resembling a bowtie.
“Each one of the top three had passionate advocates,” says judge and lot owner Robin Baugher of the deliberations that occurred behind closed doors in an adjacent room, although the group’s debate was tantalizingly visible through the door’s four large, square windows.
To show their appreciation, the Baughers gave all 12 finalists autographed copies of Lee W. Waldrep’s book Becoming an Architect: A Guide to Careers in Design and the top three prize winners will have the opportunity to shadow one of the judges—all professionals in architecture or related fields.
The Baughers say they enjoyed the process and are extremely happy with the community involvement and the students’ plans.
“I had high hopes for this, but they were exceeded,” Robin says. “Each one of these kids put so much heart and soul into this project and the results show that.”
Speaking as an educator, Wood says each student learned a great deal about architecture and about living green.
“I’m proud of them,” he says.