Architecture students' design work shines in annual competition

KENNESAW, GA. (March 20, 2015) -- Supplied with a lighting kit, a few stringent rules and a week,…

Georgia (Mar 20, 2015)

KENNESAW, GA. (March 20, 2015) -- Supplied with a lighting kit, a few stringent rules and a week, students in the College of Architecture and Construction Management at Kennesaw State built spectacular lighting fixtures in a competition that put their knowledge into practice.

“These designs are some of the highest quality I have seen and could easily be featured in some of the world’s best architectural design magazines or catalogs,” said Andrew Beldecos, owner of Andrew Beldecos Lighting Design, one of three Atlanta-area lighting design professionals who judged the 24 entries.

Working in teams of two, 48 students worked to craft accent hanging, desk and wall lighting fixtures using LEDs as part of the architecture department’s annual lighting fixture design competition.

“Design is a broad term, but architecture is more than just designing a building or a home,” said Chad McCormick, a third-year student.

The competition, in its ninth year, is part of the Environmental Technology III course, taught by architecture professors Robert Tango and Bronne Dytoc.  Lighting is just one area examined in this course that also explores solar responsive design, daylighting, acoustics, and electrical systems.

LEDs were used for the first time in this year’s competition. According to Tango, the competition enlightened students in understanding lighting design, aesthetics, function and photometry. The LED components were donated by Lighting Associates, Inc., a Duluth-based lighting fixture sales and service provider.

“Anything I can give them to work on with their hands cements their learning of basic concepts as they pertain to architecture and construction,” said Tango. “Lighting design is a comprehensive field in itself.”

Design is a favorite part for most architecture students who thrive on creativity. LEDs as a light source were a bit more challenging to work with since they are one-directional, said student William Lentjes. Teams had to focus the light within their designs to make it uniform and comfortable for the human eye.

Students used predominantly acrylic, paper, vellum and museum board to create their visionary pieces. One stipulation in the competition rules was the design piece had to be all white.

“It was fun making a functional object, but there was a lot of planning. We had to think about what materials to use and how to make an architectural precedent into a lamp,” said student Jonne Smith.

Project specifications required students to emulate a particular construction or style of a noteworthy architect’s work. Many modeled architects like Frank Lloyd Wright or Frank Gehry.

“This competition creates motivation. It’s not just about a grade,” said Sal Sajwani, who paired with Chad McCormick and took first place in the competition.  “Although we have studied lighting, we got to control the look and function of it.”


- Tiffany Capuano; photo by Anthony Stalcup 

Click here to see the design competition entries


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit