A&E Leads Architectural Design Challenge at STEM Billings Student Workshop

A&E Architects and STEM Billings

Earlier this month, A&E Architects volunteered to participate in a STEM Billings Workshop with students at Lockwood School. STEM Billings is a local organization providing educational opportunities for our community’s children through explorative, interactive activities and creative discovery. STEM inspires Billings’ youth to engage their minds and discover limitless possibilities through science, technology, engineering, and math principles.

A&E organized a team to lead an Architectural Design Challenge, comprised of principals Dusty Eaton, Eric Simonsen, and Bill DuBeau, with Maribeth Haynes, her son Max, Chad Schreiner, Ben Lombardozzi, and Yvette Pickering. The A&E Team created a design activity focused on sustainability, posing this challenge to students: Design and construct a new Billings bike shop in the East Billings Urban Revitalization District.

Each student team was provided a hands-on model with flexible, moveable pieces, including bike shop building blocks, landscape pieces, parking lot squares, bike racks, a bus stop, PV array blocks, a wind turbine, and a bioswale. Restricted to 45 minutes, students collaborated with each other to transfigure the model into a unique, “green” facility conducive to sustainability guidelines and best practices.

With the goal of creating a LEED certified building, students considered window placement for optimal solar generation, maximum green space to reduce heat islands, and wind turbine placement to produce maximum wind energy.

The students produced exceptionally creative models, displaying original, inventive ideas and purposeful, strategic design. Each model featured unique landscaping and imaginative building construction, illustrating detailed and innovative design concepts.

Witnessing the remarkable creations of the next generation of potential designers, engineers, and builders invigorates the architects of A&E. The Design Challenge not only enriched and enlightened the young minds of Billings’ students, but stirred the imagination and artistry of our firm. The students demonstrated essential elements of design; the ability to think out of bounds and pursue ideas with conviction and passion.