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ISU College of Design students win research poster awards at renewable energy symposium

October 20, 2014


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Architecture graduate student Kyle Vancise won best oral presentation for his research poster on "The Climate Case for Wood Skyscrapers."
Fifth-year architecture students Zhahn Bose and Ken Meyer and graduate students Rebekka Brown, sustainable environments, and Stephen Danielson, architecture, won the best poster design prize for "D.A.R.T." Designing Architecture for Resilience through Time."


AMES, Iowa — Five students from the Iowa State University College of Design were recognized for outstanding research posters presented at the Meeting the Renewable Energy Challenge Student Energy Expo Oct. 15 at the University of Iowa, Iowa City.

Any student enrolled in a college or university in Iowa was eligible to showcase research related to renewable energy, climate change, or environmental policy or planning.

Kyle Vansice, graduate student in architecture from Ankeny, won the prize for the best oral presentation to the judges. His poster on "The Climate Case for Wood Skyscrapers" examined the potential of timber engineering innovations to provide a renewable, low-carbon-footprint option for future housing needs.

"Having the opportunity to attend the conference and talk with other researchers interested in unique and important areas of renewable energy research was truly exciting," Vancise said.

"There was a great diversity in topics, and I'm proud that the state of Iowa has taken a leading role in the advancement of this field."

The team of Zhahn Bose, Sioux City, fifth-year architecture; Rebekka Brown, Burlington, Wis., graduate student in sustainable environments; Stephen Danielson, St. Joseph., Minn., graduate student in architecture, and Ken Meyer, Rolling Meadows, Ill., fifth-year architecture, won the best poster design prize for their poster titled "D.A.R.T.: Designing Architecture for Resilience through Time."

Designed in panels reminiscent of a comic book or graphic novel, the team's poster depicts D.A.R.T. as the hero of multipurpose design, climatic-responsive systems, on-site power generation, community relationship-building and passive design pitted against the villains of weather, solar radiation and economy.

"We sought to present the information in a way that would make it appealing to the audience to read. We elected to go with a comic narrative to talk about how designing cities and buildings with resiliency in mind could help combat the negative effects of climate change," Meyer said.

"Winning the award is an honor for our group and we see it as a positive step toward bringing topics of sustainability to the forefront at Iowa State."

Both posters propose specific solutions and offer examples of ways these strategies are and could be used to improve building performance and reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

The students developed their winning posters in the ARCH 558: Sustainability and Green Architecture course being taught by architecture assistant professor Andrea Wheeler this semester.

"The class is not simply about building energy performance nor green building methods and materials; neither is it only about the design of city infrastructure or sustainable patterns of behavior, although it covers all of these aspects of sustainable design," Wheeler said.

"It introduces students to the information and skills needed to critically engage with and evaluate sustainable architectural design practices and encourages them to develop their own positions on what it means to design, build, maintain and live/work in sustainable architecture," she said.

Vancise's research also was carried out in part as Wheeler's research assistant with funding from an ISU Provost's Office additional start-up grant for new faculty. He plans to present further work at the 3rd International Conference on Architecture and Civil Engineering in Singapore next April. Bose, Brown, Danielson and Meyer will contribute to the publication of essays from the Sustainability and Green Architecture class.

Andrea Wheeler, Architecture, (515) 294-3796,
Kyle Vansice, Architecture graduate student, (515) 963-8402,
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289,