By Cindy Keo
Fifth-year architecture student Eduardo Gandara has a strong passion for architecture. That passion led him to place at perFORM2015: a national competition held in Portland, Oregon.
The competition focuses on energy performance, design, and how net-zero energy benefits the community and environment.
Gandara’s submission placed second at the competition, which awarded him a $1,500 prize.
“I wanted to challenge myself and see if I could do something that could be recognized,” said Gandara. “That’s what kept me going.”
In his journey as an architecture student, Gandara believes in having a career that is not only just a job but also something to be passionate about.
“It’s more of a pleasure and a lifetime than just doing a job,” said Gandara.
Gandara believes that environmental sustainability can be taught through maximizing energy efficiency.
“If you teach the community to be sustainable or to reduce the energy consumption, you can make an impact on the environment,” said Gandara. “Other people will influence other people, and that’s how we can in a way combat global warming.”
Out of the three finalists, Gandara was the only one who chose to work as an individual rather than in a group.
“I wanted to challenge myself and see if I was good enough,” said Gandara. “I also don’t want to depend on others to see if they are going to perform and do their work in time, so I would rather work on my own and do the best I can.”
His college experience helped him develop the ability he needed to work as an individual.
“Architecture is very individual for the first three years of your career,” said Gandara. “Then, we start collaborating with other students [during] our fourth and fifth year. That’s why I’m very manageable on my own time to develop the right graphics for the competition.”
Gandara did face difficulty achieving the net-zero, which is the most important criteria in this competition.
“Having a total of 79 units and having it at net-zero was difficult,” said Gandara. “One of the areas where I had to focus on was to reduce the number of people that are going to be utilizing that building per unit and also the number of hours that people will be using that building. “Those were one of the challenges that [allowed] me to keep going. If it wasn’t a net-zero building, then you wouldn’t be able to enter the competition.”
Throughout the duration of his project, Gandara had the guidance and knowledge from CPP professors Hofu Wu and Pablo la Roche.
“[Wu and la Roche] helped me to introduce myself into sustainable environment,” said Gandara. “Having to deal with this competition was a way to practice what I have learned.”
La Roche believes that Gandara’s success is due to his strong work ethic.
“Eduardo is already very hard-working and motivated student, so it was not difficult to keep him on track during the competition process,” said la Roche.
Although he may not have won first place, Gandara was greatly rewarded. His project opened new opportunities for his career.
“I was recommended to some architecture firms,” said Gandara. “When we had the career fair, they really looked at [the net-zero building].”
Gandara has some advice for students who may be embarking on a similar journey:
“I think that if you’re going to do architecture you’re going to have to enjoy it because in reality you’re going to be spending a lot of time into a project,” said Gandara. “If I were to give advice to other people who are going into competitions, [it would be] to look at winners from previous years and see what they did. It’s difficult to design something at a place you’ve never been to, so research the site, and see the conditions of the site to help develop it better.”
Cindy Keo / The Poly Post
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