Architecture students to become part of Dunedin High history

Architecture competition students

When Sram Muhqueed and Andrew Markowski first decided to compete in the Dunedin High School auditorium entrance redesign contest, they were excited, but not overly optimistic.

“We didn’t take it super seriously at first,” said Sram. “I thought it would be fun, but I thought we’d get fourth, maybe third place.”

But the professional architects who judged the competition couldn’t have been more impressed with the duo, who called themselves the Fountain Falconeers because of their incorporation of a fountain into their design.

“I was very inspired by their curiosity and level of creativity,” said Jason Jensen with Wannemacher Jensen Architects. "For me, it was the thoughtfulness with which they approached this project – they thought of things we wouldn’t necessarily consider because they are the ones moving through the campus."

The final presentations, held April 25 and April 30, were the culmination of months of planning. Twelve groups, who are all part of Dunedin’s Academy of Architecture, Robotics and Construction Technologies, participated in redesigning the school’s front entrance and auditorium areas with the understanding that one element from the winning design would be incorporated into the actual plan.  

The teams were given 20 minutes to present their plans to a panel of professional architects. The plans had to incorporate a narrative of how the design addresses the key issues, a key feature, renderings or images of the design, front elevation of the new lobby and a site plan.

“Today gave us a real-world example of what architects look for and really gave us a perspective of how the process actually works,” said Andrew, who had left campus to attend a dual-enrollment class when his team was pronounced the winner. “One of the main reasons I go to Dunedin is for the architecture program. After winning, it gave me the realization I can actually do this as a career.”

According to architecture teacher Laura Badraun, who helped facilitate the competition and guide the teams in their designs, the opportunity to go through the design process and present to a team of architects was invaluable.

“Whether they go off to college or go straight into the working field, if they design something, they would have to present it to clients,” Badraun said. “It’s very exciting to see different kids’ brains and how they work in the design process and the steps they come up with to get to their final design.”

The winners were presented with Amazon gift cards, and a $1,500 scholarship from the Pinellas Education Foundation. But the biggest reward of all is the opportunity to leave a legacy at Dunedin in the form of an architectural element.

“I hope that 10, 20, 30 years from now, you drive by Dunedin High School and say, ‘Hey, I designed that,’” said Superintendent Kevin Hendrick. “The thing that’s really neat about architectural work is you have the satisfaction for yourself, but you’re also designing something that’s going to live on for generations of students.”