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Naperville North would-be architects earn top honors

<p>Naperville North students Graham Novak, Patrick Miga and Sagarika Jetley show off their home design for the sixth annual International Mock Firms competition in Chicago. | Suzanne Baker ~ Sun-Times&nbsp;Media</p>
<p>Naperville North junior Lauren Hanson and senior Evan Harrison competed in the home design and won top construction honors at the sixth annual International Mock Firms competition held in early May in Chicago. | Suzanne Baker ~ Sun-Times Media &nbsp;</p>
<p>Naperville North seniors Jesse Han, Sam Holzhauer, Noah Pulvermacher and Christopher Greco won top honors for skyscraper construction at the sixth annual International Mock Firms competition held in Chicago in early May 2014. | Submitted&nbsp;photo &nbsp;</p>

The sky’s the limits for aspiring architects from Naperville North High School who earned top honors at the sixth annual International Mock Firms competition held earlier this month in Chicago.

With a theme of “Strength to Soar,” student mock architectural firms were challenged to conceive, construct and commercialize skyscrapers or homes designed to promote the health and fitness of tenants as well as the community at-large.

Naperville students were up against competition from California, Georgia, Kansas and Texas.

Naperville North students involved with Studio 138 won the 2014 Top Construction Mock Firm Skyscraper and HHA Architects won the 2014 Top Construction Mock Firm Home Design.

Studio 138, named after the room at Naperville North where architecture classes are held, is made up of seniors Jesse Han, Noah Pulvermacher, Christopher Greco and Sam Holzhauer. All plan to study architecture in college, except for Noah who is pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering.

Sam said the Top Construction award was due to the project’s tube frame design that allows for fewer interior walls and creates more useable space inside the building.

The plans call for a lobby on the ground floor with a mix of commercial, fitness, residential and observation deck space above it. Below the main level, the students designed parking and a velodrome.

Jesse said the team incorporated green aspects into the design including the use of natural light and a sunroom that can be used to grow plants.

Because fitness was such a big aspect of the project, the students included more stairways in their designs and fewer elevators. Stairways also used kinetic energy flooring that converts the energy of a footstep into electricity, which is either stored in a battery or fed directly to devices such as LED lighting, Christopher said.

Senior Evan Harrison and junior Lauren Hanson made up the HHA (Harrison Hanson Architects) team.

The duo competed last year and wanted to do it again this year, but they’d already taken the architecture class where much of the work is done. Evan and Lauren instead were able to craft an independent study class.

HHA’s “environmentally friendly and eco-conscious” home was planned for athletes on a lot in Seattle, Wash., overlooking Puget Sound, Lauren said.

Among the sports-related amenities the home featured were a basketball court, weight room and turf area.

On the ecology side, Evan said their design offered a roof that consists of plants to help insulate the home and photovoltaic cells that capture solar energy even when cloudy. Because it rains a lot in Seattle, Evan said they included a system to capture rainwater for use in the house.

Evan said the competitions and his architecture class definitely inspired him to pursue a degree in architecture.

Lauren said she plans to take more engineering-related classes her senior year of high school with the pursuit of an architectural engineering degree.

In addition to collaborating with each other, students worked with North applied technology teachers Rebecca DiOrio and Josh Murawski as well as outside professionals like architect Jonathan Murawski, for DLA Ltd. Architect in Itasca, a firm that specializes in schools.

Jonathan finds mentoring students very rewarding. “Seeing the excitement in the kids, it excites me about my profession,” Jonathan said.

While they did not win, another team competed. Graham Novak, Patrick Miga, Sagarika Jetley and Trevor Sass headed up Apex Architex. They designed a single-family home geared for the professional athlete that included a two-story climbing wall, indoor squash court, media and trophy room, outdoor multi-purpose court and radiant heated floors. Set in Moneta, Va., the lot included a dock and boat launch perfect for canoes, kayaks and rowboats.

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