El Camino Architecture Students Display Award-Winning Entries from Annual “Design Village” Competition

May 30, 2024 Torrance, CA

A temporary “village” demonstrating the architectural innovation and ingenuity of El Camino College students, has been re-erected on the patio in front of the Industry Technology Education Center (ITEC) Building, showcasing five habitable student designs from the 49th Annual Design Village Competition held recently at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. 

From a shelter made of 5-gallon buckets once used to haul honey, to a series of geometric capsules arranged as a lotus flower, the models demonstrate the design and fabrication skills ECC’s architecture students.

The Design Village Competition, produced by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design, is an annual event that showcases the ingenuity of community college architecture students. Framed as a “Learn-By-Doing” exercise, students were challenged to design a structure, prefabricate it, and transport the shelter to the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo campus. Once there, students were required to hand-carry all parts of the assembly a mile into Poly Canyon where the village site was located and inhabit their respective structures for 48 hours. This allowed the competitors the opportunity to follow the typical design process all the way from idea generation and design development to project realization and habitation testing. The yearly experience is not only a rite of passage for young architecture students, but it also creates a vibrant community of creatives from all over the state.

Participation in the competition has been an annual exercise for El Camino College’s 2nd-year architecture students.  In fact, each spring semester students enrolled in their final Design Studio at El Camino College embark on a design exploration to determine the top design ideas for the competition.  “This exercise works well with our Design Studio 4 where the focus is on a design-build activity as well as experimental design,” says Dan Richardson, one of two professors who teach the capstone design course. “Even though we have participated in this event for several decades, it is always exciting to see the new shelter ideas and fabrication methods developed by our students,” he continued.

The theme for this year’s competition was MODULAR. As such, student teams were asked to design a 150-sq. ft. shelter where the ‘whole is more than the sum of its parts’. El Camino College had one of the largest contingencies with 29 architecture students divided into five teams to participate in the competition. Along with demonstrating the depth of the ECC Architecture Program and its student’s design acuity, four of the teams were recognized as being some of the best amongst 47 entries.  One of the top prizes that was awarded went to the ECC entry titled, Radiant Bloom, which took the top prize for Best in Theme.  The other three winners included Composition, Floating De Stijl-ly, and Pail Hive, all of which were given Honorable Mentions distinctions.

The El Camino College 2024 Design Village entries are currently available for viewing on the southwest patio of the ITEC Building and will be on display through June 7th. The Architecture Department is in the Industry & Technology Division.