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KU Engineering Graduates Win International Design Contest

Friday, August 15, 2008

[Students Justina Jones, Bryan Quarles, Alexandra Gibson and Bazigha Tufail, shown here with a different class project, won an international student design competition sponsored by ASHRAE]
Four University of Kansas Architectural Engineering May graduates were named winners of an international competition to design a sustainable/green recreation center.

Alexandra Gibson, Justina Jones, Bryan Quarles and Bazigha Tufail won the Architectural Design category of the ASHRAE 2008 Student Design Competition. Their entry was based on the goal of using sustainable technologies for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration, lighting, energy supply and water use. The team completed the project as part of the Architectural Engineering Design II course taught by Associate Professor of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering Brian A. Rock during the spring semester.

“This group of four seniors was particularly effective in working as a team,” Rock said. “They sought advice at the optimal times and were effective in implementing their ideas.” The students had to stay on track with other course requirements, as well. “This same team of students also designed and constructed a duct/fan testing apparatus and learned more about building environmental systems and professional practice, all in the same one-semester course!”

The ASHRAE competition asked students to focus on designing various aspects of a 60,000-square-foot community recreation center that featured full-size basketball courts, a running track, indoor racquetball courts, a fitness equipment room, and a natatorium.

Key features of the KU team design include a green roof to combat the urban heat effect and to provide extra roof insulation as well as contribute to CO2 absorption/oxygen output; rainwater harvesting; development of proper lighting controls detecting the amount of daylight penetration, efficient illumination fixtures and the use of light shelves for indirect lighting; and photovoltaic panels to minimize electricity use.

The KU students finished their project at the beginning of May at which time it was submitted in the Kansas City ASHRAE Chapter competition. The entry won the chapter event, as well as the subsequent regional contest before moving on to the international competition, Rock said.

For their efforts the team members will be awarded $1,500 and the opportunity to present their design at the ASHRAE Winter Meeting in January in Chicago.

Design competitions provide invaluable experience to engineering students.

“These design competitions are particularly effective when incorporated with our senior capstone design courses, like ARCE 681,” Rock said. “They encourage students to work in teams, and to tackle real problems. The competitions, and the capstone courses, help transition students to the rapidly-approaching work environment.”

The 50,000-member


is an international professional organization dedicated to advancing the science and art of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems.

About the team:

All four students on the team earned a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering in May 2008.

Alexandra Gibson

is originally from Norman, Okla., and is a graduate of Norman High School.

Justina Jones

is originally from DeSoto, Kan., and is a graduate of Piper High School. She also holds a bachelor’s degree from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.

Bryan Quarles

is originally from Lee’s Summit, Mo., and is a graduate of Lee’s Summit High School.

Bazigha Tufail

is originally from Lee’s Summit, Mo., and is a graduate of Lee’s Summit High School.

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