Design-Build Competition Provides ArchE Student with Real-World Experience

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Zach Clawson

Bachelor of Science
Architectural Engineering

Zach Clawson may not have his architectural engineering degree yet, but thanks to his participation in a national Design-Build Student Competition, he’s got a pretty good sense of what it takes to put together a design and construction proposal for a real-world project.

A junior at CU-Boulder, Zach participated in the Design-Build Industry Association of America’s 2012 inaugural Design-Build Student Competition, which challenged teams to submit a request for proposal for a construction project that required performance and office spaces, screening rooms, lecture areas and classrooms and an aesthetic consideration that incorporated the historical, cultural and architectural context of college campus and community where it was to be built. Zach and his three teammates created a proposal detailing their proposed design and construction solutions, including a budget and schedule for the project, which won third place in the Rocky Mountain Region.

“The competition opened my eyes to the kind of stuff an actual construction manager really does,” he says. “I had a lot of fun being able to apply my knowledge from school.”

Zach was initially interested in becoming an architect, but after realizing he was strong in math and science and not so great at drawing, he decided that architectural engineering was a better fit.

“It’s not like other majors. With architectural engineering, you get such a well-rounded look at the whole building process,” he says. Zach has enjoyed learning about all the different aspects of architectural engineering, but has decided to pursue an emphasis in lighting.

Zach says one of the benefits of attending CU is the many extracurricular opportunities on campus. During his time here, Zach has participated in Theta Tau, a professional co-ed engineering fraternity, as well as club roller hockey and intramural inner tube water polo.

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