Student Design Charette 2019

The 2019 IIDA Southern California Chapter Student Design Charette was held on Saturday November 2nd at the Gensler Office in Newport Beach.  Student Members of IIDA from 11 schools all over Southern California came to compete for cash prizes and the chance to go on to the Regional Design Charette Competition next Spring.

Twenty-eight students were divided randomly into six teams to design a creative office space in a historic building site located in the revitalized Broadway District of Downtown Los Angeles.  Each team had 4.5 hours and limited resources to imagine and communicate a space that included an Arrival Lounge, Creative Office Space, Conference Room, Private Modular Offices and a Coffee Shop.  Time management and the ability to work well with a team were critical to the outcome for each group.


After ‘pencil’s down!’ was called, students and volunteers enjoyed a power lunch, generously provided by Mohawk, and prepared themselves to present their work to the judges.  The panel of judges included Tom Ventura, Design Director for Gensler Newport Beach; Sarah McNally, Materials Consultant for 3form and IIDA SoCal VP of City Centers; and Saul Acosta, Principal of DA Lighting.


Each team was given 5 minutes to explain their design concept and solution with floor plans, elevations, sketches, renderings and materials displayed on a 30”x42” board.  Judgement criteria included support of concept, creativity, clarity of design, feasibility, presentation skills and proportionate team participation.

While the judges deliberated, our hosts from Gensler – Derek Chen and Carlos Munoz – gave the students a tour of their Newport Beach Office, which was a thoroughly enjoyed ‘peek behind the curtain’ into the environment of a true design industry titan.

After much consideration, the judges decided to bring back three teams for additional Q&A that would help them determine the first and second prize winners.  These awards will be presented at the IIDA Calibre Design Awards in May 2020, and the first-place team will go on to compete at the Regional Charette Competition in Northern California next April.

The winners were:


1st Place Team – “Limelight” – $10,000 Award
Rebecca Williamson – San Diego Mesa College
Victoria Moore – Saddleback College
Rosario Felix – California State University – Northridge
Anna Grubinski Ossyra – Woodbury University
Soon-Young Kwon – Interior Designers Institute


2nd Place Team – “Under the Top” – $4,000 Award
Natasha Rusli – OTIS College of Art and Design
Brianna Dumais –  California State University, Long Beach
Stephanie Towers – Saddleback College
Ashley Ramos – Chaffey College

All participating schools included OTIS, San Diego Mesa College, Woodbury, Art Center, Interior Designers Institute, Mount San Antonio College, Saddleback College, Chaffey College, California State University Long Beach, California State University Northridge, Design Institute of San Diego.

Miguel Perez and Jillian Potts, IIDA SoCal’s VPs of Student Affairs, thanks the students, judges, sponsors and volunteers for making this event a huge success!  And thank you to the campus faculty advisors who support their students by including them in IIDA opportunities like this!


Event Sponsors
Mohawk – Lisa Van Niekerk
Milliken – Jillian Potts

A very special thank you to our Gensler hosts Derek Chen and Carlos Munoz who helped organize the day and shared their office with IIDA’s students. Additional thanks goes to OTIS College for providing easels and to LACC Student Affairs Chair, Paul Shaia from Gerflor, and IIDA SoCal’s Regional Student Affairs Director, James Arakelian, for their assistance with the event.

See all of the student charette photos here.

Thank you to Chris Hatcher Photography for documenting the event.

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