Students’ Architectural Creations Take Over Atrium of Building 11

If you’ve walked through the hallways of Building 11 on West Campus this summer, you may have noticed something a little out of the ordinary.

The hallways and atrium are now being occupied by an assortment of cardboard creations — all the work of architecture students.

For a class in parametric modeling, students in the joint Valencia College-University of Central Florida architecture program sketched designs of projects they would like to build. The class voted on which projects to work on — and then Thomas McPeek, assistant professor of architecture at UCF’s School of Visual Arts & Design, organized students into groups and assigned each team a project — which they may not have even designed.

“The exercise was designed to help us produce something for a client — something that wasn’t your idea, but this would enable you to put your on spin on it,” said Jonathan Craig, 24, a Valencia grad who’s entering his senior year in the UCF architecture program.

For their project, classmates Craig, Brandon Abney and Ryan Begley created a bench, complete with an arch made of cardboard cubes. The completed design — which they named “Cubic Distortion” — doesn’t look like the original sketch, but that was what made the project interesting, they said.

“We wanted to make it curvy and linear and cubic at the same time,” said Begley, 23.

They created a bench that blends function — a bench sturdy enough to hold several college students — with an interesting design.

To build the unusual bench, they bought 300 sheets of single-ply cardboard to create the cubes and the bench — while Abney cut the bench seats from plywood.  Together, they worked three straight days and into the night, using hot glue to put together the cubes and wood glue to construct the base.

“We didn’t think we were going to finish it in time,” said Abney.

But, like most of their classmates, they finished — and are happy to show off the results.

Craig, Abney and Begley — like most of their classmates in the UCF architecture program — started at Valencia.  Craig, who graduated from Rockledge High School, thought he wanted to pursue a career in architecture, but decided to try out Valencia’s architecture program to see if he really wanted to pursue architecture as a degree.  After he took a few classes, he discovered he loved architecture — and signed up fro Valencia’s 2+2+2 program, which is a partnership between Valencia College, UCF and the University of Florida, which will allow students to earn their master’s in architecture from UF without leaving Orlando.

Abney, who graduated from West Orange High School,  started Valencia as an engineering major. but he had taken some architectural drafting classes in high school. And when he checked out the architecture program at Valencia, he decided to change his major.

Begley, on the other hand, started his college career at the University of South Florida, but he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. When he moved to Orlando, he discovered Valencia’s architecture program and found his passion.

Now in their junior year of the architecture program, the students are working on more and more challenging projects — and enjoying it. “This project,” added Begley, “really inspired us.”

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