Monday, October 16, 2017

UTSA students build custom playhouses for a good cause

Playhouses were designed and constructed by UTSA architecture, construction and interior design students

McCoy's Building Supply Team's entry

Playhouses were designed and constructed by UTSA architecture, construction and interior design students

84 Lumber Team's entry

Playhouses were designed and constructed by UTSA architecture, construction and interior design students

Builder's FirstSource Team's entry


(May 3, 2017) -- Three unique playhouses designed and constructed by students from The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) will soon be filled with the sounds of children's laughter. One of the playhouses will become the property of the Battered Women and Children's Shelter of Bexar County.

Built over the course of 28 hours, the three 8" x 8" playhouses were designed for a competition honoring the 15th anniversary of the UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning (CACP). The three teams were made up of students from each of the college's departments. The students were in charge of every aspect of making the playhouses a reality—from the initial design phases to the physical construction.

"The UTSA CACP Playhouse Design/Build Competition provided a design/build project where architecture and interior design students became a part of the team to also construct their design," said Larry Grosse, interim chair of the UTSA Department of Construction Science. "The construction science students provided their knowledge and experience to convert each design into a reality. The project then became a shared experience that all could use in their future careers in architecture, construction, and interior design."

The UTSA student design/build competition was held in collaboration with the Greater San Antonio Builders Association. Building materials were donated by McCoy's Building Supply, 84 Lumber and Builders FirstSource, which served as sponsors for each team.

"The Greater San Antonio Builders Association is committed to giving back to San Antonio," said Wayne Moravits, president of the Greater San Antonio Builders Association. "We are excited to be a partner with UTSA to build relationships within the community while promoting the great careers that can be found in the residential construction industry."

The winning team was sponsored McCoy's Building Supply. The McCoy Team's designed a rustic, wooden playhouse with a musical theme.

"We are really grateful to the UTSA students who spent time designing and constructing these playhouses," said Linda Canizales of Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc., the organization that oversees the Battered Women and Children's Shelter of Bexar County. "The playhouse that the McCoy's Building Supply Team constructed will bring smiles and laughter to a lot of children who need it."

Painted blue with a green door, the McCoy's Building Supply Team's playhouse incorporates multiple built-in musical instruments, a bookshelf in the shape of musical notes and theme-appropriate decorations painted throughout the interior.

"The fact that our playhouses will end up being used by children in need and San Antonio families is a wonderful experience for myself and the other students involved in the project," said Michael Beckman, 32, a senior construction science major and the team leader of the winning team. "Being at UTSA offers us the chance to work on a lot of multidisciplinary projects and real-world design builds that enhance our abilities as professionals and increase marketability in the work place."

The other two playhouses—a red chicken barn-style playhouse designed and built by the Builders FirstSource Team and a slanted-roof design with windows in different shapes designed and built by the 84 Lumber Team—are set to be auctioned off during the Greater San Antonio Builders Association's Spring Parade of Homes. The proceeds of the auction will go to support CACP student activities and scholarships.

"UTSA is a great community of caring individuals who always step up when the call is made to volunteer to benefit our neighbors and our neighborhoods," said Beckman. "This competition is a shining example of how the university can challenge its students and help the community. It shows the great things we can accomplish when we all work together as a team."

UTSA is ranked among the top 400 universities in the world and among the top 100 in the nation, according to Times Higher Education.

- Jesus Chavez

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