With only one hour left in the design-build competition, School of Architecture students bustled around Kuert’s Concrete, one of the oldest central batch-mix concrete plants in Indiana, attempting to complete their design projects. Sophomores and graduate students were participating in Masonry Day, a 30 year old tradition built through a partnership with International Masonry Institute (IMI), International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsworkers Local 4 IN/KY (IUBAC), Kuert Concrete and Rose Brick. The Masonry Day program is a competition that gives students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience and also encourages them to use masonry in their designs, both as students and throughout their careers.
A team of faculty and professionals including John Mellor, Associate Professor of the Practice; Caroline Cole, Duncan G. Stroik Architect, LLC; Kevin Buccellato, Buccellato Design, LLC; Stephen Grotz, Buccellato Design, LLC; Elizabeth Slaski, MArch Candidate 2017 joined the event as judges for the competition.
This year marks the 30 year anniversary of the program and to celebrate the occasion students designed and built pedestals to display a commemorative trophy presented by the IMI and IUBAC. The day began with student teams pairing with a masonry apprentice to carry out the design plan. In a large, chilly but cheerful garage the students and apprentices carefully lay brick and mortar to construct their visions.
Professor Aimee Buccellato who teaches Introduction to Building Technology, speaks to the importance and impact of this program: “[this experience] reinforces both the opportunities and constraints of a particular building material, in this case brick...which encourages the students to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between design and construction. Working alongside masons...exposes the architecture students to the very real challenges of masonry construction and the years-long training required to master it. The design-build competition encourages communication among the students...and apprentices that meaningfully mirrors the kind of communication and collaboration that happens in the field between the architect and the trades and is key to the success of any construction project.”
Students eventually ran out of time to build and were ushered off for a tour of the Kuert Concrete production plant where they were able to see some of the inner workings of a batch-mix concrete facility. While students toured, the judges reviewed the structures and chose 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. The judges announced the winner, presented the trophy, and the 30th annual Masonry Day was over, but according to Buccellato the hope is that students leave inspired and walk away “with an understanding and appreciation of masonry construction and also those who are dedicating their careers to making the buildings that [they]...will one day design.”