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N. Clackamas students win national award for skyscraper design

A group of North Clackamas School District students took second in the National Skyscraper Challenge after creating a firm, developing a design and building a remarkable model to present in Chicago.

by: PHOTO COURTESY: NANCY MERCHANT - Brett Sonflieth poses below the model he built in a design class with (left to right) Logan Gillis, Dustin Lurie, Noah Davis, Bree Wescovich, David Gerritzen, Haley Wilson, Marinn Longenecker, Madison Phillips. Kevin Alfaro and Andy Le were also in the North Clackamas class, but they are not pictured.Two teams at the Sabin-Schellenberg Professional Technical Center campus participated in “Strength to Soar” theme demanding sustainable principles, a design aesthetic, a strong presentation and a well-organized company. Coming from several NCSD high schools, the five-member team that placed in the competition called their firm “Architects of Rebellious Innovation.”

The students used 3D printers and received support from two architectural firms — ZGF Architects LLP and GBD Architects, as well as a structural engineering firm: KPFF Consulting Engineers.

Nancy Merchant, a computer-aided-drafting instructor at Sabin-Schellenberg, said the winning design was an effort by everyone on the team of five students who modeled it up in SketchUp. It was built by one student, Rex Putnam High School senior Brett Sonflieth, who was mentored by Robert Petty, the head of the model-making department at ZGF Architects. Sonflieth laid out all the pieces and then worked with ZGF to cut them using lasers.

“The ‘fin’ at the top was ‘printed’ on our new MakerBot 3D printer,” Merchant said. “It was challenging to take a 3D surface model and convert it to an .stl file that could run the 3D printer, but Brett stuck with it until it worked.”

The judges in Chicago, who are all architects, were impressed with both the design of Sabin-Schellenberg’s winning skyscraper as well as the quality and professionalism of Sonflieth’s model itself.