Design Process students nab top spots in annual idea competition

An idea incentivizing physical fitness, recycling and public transit use and another idea promising a better way to distribute heat from a fireplace, both hatched in a class taught at Texas A&M’s College of Architecture, were recognized among the top entries in an annual campus ideas competition.

The concepts were created during the spring 2014 semester in [The Design Process] ( , a creativity workshop open to students in all majors in which students spark, explore, discover and develop their creative problem-solving abilities and entrepreneurial spirit, both individually and in multidisciplinary teams.

The highly sought-after course is led by either Jorge Vanegas, dean of the College of Architecture or Rodney Hill, professor of architecture.

The winning entries selected by a panel of faculty and business leaders in the [Raymond Ideas Challenge] ( , sponsored by the Mays Business School’s Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship.

In “ [ReCYCLING Bus] ( ,” students proposed public transit stations in which users could earn free or reduced cost bus rides by registering deposits of recyclable materials using a card swipe procedure.

Students Sandya Athigaman, Andrea DeLorimier, Julia Gaas, Blake Leiker, Sean O’Beirne and Jess Yarbrough proposed installing 10 stationary cycling stations on hybrid buses allowing riders to create energy for the bus, get a workout and earn fare discounts.

Another entry, Air Gel, is a heat-resistant insulation for fireplaces that facilitates efficient heat distribution by preventing the fireplace from absorbing heat.

The concept, dubbed [reFire] ( , was proposed by Abbe Emerson, a senior environmental design student, and Jacob Tannenbaum, a senior landscape architecture student.

reFIre was chosen by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service’s [Product Development Center] ( for further development, capital acquisition and pitch development.

posted June 6, 2014