Design Build Student Design Competition – Penn State

Grantee: Penn State University
Principle Investigator: Aly Said
Year: 2021
Project Number: 2021.003

Educating the next generation of designers is a key objective of the NCMA Foundation. This unique student design competition at Penn State University will challenge students with not only designing concrete masonry, but building it as well.

Program Details:

The short-term objective of this student design competition is to provide a hands-on experience in concrete masonry design using traditional concrete masonry units.  The long-term objective is to inspire interest in concrete masonry among undergraduate and graduate students of engineering.

Several teams of students from the Architectural Engineering Department as well as Civil Engineering and Architecture will compete to design a structure using concrete masonry units traditionally produced by NCMA producer members.  Specifically, student teams will design, build and test a scaled single-wythe concrete masonry wall specimen. The students will be given minimal dimensions for the width, height, height-to thickness ratio, reinforcement ratio and cross-sectional area of the wall. Once constructed, students will estimate the structural capacity of the assembly, and those estimates will be compared to actual results when assemblies are tested.

The University will work closely with the Pennsylvania Concrete Masonry Association (PCMA) and producer members to ensure that entrants receive support in the form of concrete masonry plant tours, materials, facilities, and speakers that provide advice regarding each of the judged criteria.

The teams will be judged on criteria including structural performance, fidelity of performance predictions to measurements, constructability, aesthetic concept and craftsmanship and functional use of the concrete masonry materials. Prizes will be awarded to top-performing teams.