Students’ residential designs win both awards in national contest

Rebeca Diaz

Jack Searcy

Second-year environmental design students at Texas A&M swept a national residential design [competition] ( sponsored by the [Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association] ( , placing first and second.

The winning designs of a contemporary, single-family home resplendent with generous use of Eastern White Pine were created by Jack Searcy and Rebeca Diaz in a studio led by Ahmed Ali, assistant professor of architecture.

Searcy placed first, earning $1000 in the contest, and Diaz’s second-place finish earned her $500. The duo will be recognized via a video link at the April 14 NLMA 2015 confab in Boston where their designs will be on exhibit.

In the contest, the 4th Annual Sustainable Versatility Design Competition, students in the United States and Canada submitted designs of a contemporary, single-family home significantly featuring at least three grades of Eastern White Pine. Grown in much of eastern North America, the lumber is widely lauded for its durability in residential construction.

The contest jury selected the winning two entries for demonstrating a thorough understanding of lumber design practices, specifications and pricing. Searcy and Diaz each designed a 2,400 square-foot residence for a site near downtown Bryan.

The jury hailed Searcy’s first place design, a hybrid of contemporary and traditional Texas architecture, as a unique architectural concept that reflected extensive research on the cost of using Eastern Pine for a residence. He employed an industrial grade of pine for framing, a standard grade of pine for exterior siding and cladding, and a premium grade for the interior and flooring.

Diaz also used Eastern White Pine for the residence’s framing and the exterior. Her design makes extensive use of the wood in the home’s interior, including sunken paneling and molding on the ceiling.

“All of the cabinetry in the kitchen, as well as the dining room table and chairs, implement Eastern White Pine,” she said. “The design has all aspects of a contemporary home while remaining appealing to a traditional buyer.”

posted April 20, 2015