April 1, 2022Reading Time: 3 minutes
On February 6, 2020, Tenafly High School invited 96 young women from 12 NJ high schools to compete in the AIA NJ Women’s STEAM Tower Challenge. The project was designed by Joseph David, AIA, and co-chaired by Stacey Ruhle Kliesch, AIA, both past presidents of The Architects League of Northern New Jersey. Tenafly High School Teacher of Technology Education, Ghania Layachi, conceived the idea for the all-women STEAM event, arranged the logistics of the entire event and brought all of the participants together. According to Ms. Layacha, “The lack of girls in engineering and architecture motivated the officers of Tenafly Chapter of Society of Women Engineers(SWEnext) to plan this competition.”
AIA New Jersey Tower Challenge Program
The project, designed and developed by Joseph David, AIA, challenged teams to experience some of the design challenges that architects face every day as they work together to design a residential tower. Points were awarded to teams that designed the highest building, the building with the most square footage as well as designs that explore creative solutions. Teams also assembled a simple study model from spaghetti and marshmallows representing their design’s structural system which was tested on a shake table to simulate seismic effects. The women arrived for the competition blind and were required to absorb the concepts and develop the solution all within the time constraints of the single school day competition. Each team had three hours to develop their design, build their model and prepare their presentation.
Joseph David, AIA; Chris Brand, AIA; Delly Yaker, AIA; Simone Tsigounis, AIA; Steven Lazarus, AIA, (AIANJ President); Louis DiGeronimo, AIA; Eric Lam, AIA; Cecilia Cano, Associate AIA; Ryan Moran, AIA; Paul Tiajoloff, AIA; Fay Logan, AIA, volunteered as advisors and judges. Stacey Ruhle Kliesch, AIA, supported the planning and administration of the event from concept. Jennifer Marsh, AIA, provided the closing keynote.
Participating high schools included Fair Lawn, Leonia, Northern Highlands, Northern Valley Old Tappan, Paramus, Pascack Hills, Pascack Valley, Ramsey, Tenafly, Vernon, Waldwick and Westwood.
According to Jim Kennedy and Danielle deQuintal of Pascack Valley High School, “The event was a smashing success and so well organized. The idea of having a women’s event was very special and very needed. The young women from Pascack Valley thought the challenge was fun and rigorous. The involvement of AIA and having all of the judges there to help was very creative. Jennifer Marsh, the keynote speaker, was very impressive and is an inspiration and role model for young women.”
By Stacey Ruhle Kliesch, AIA, AIA NJ Advocacy Consultant | Posted in AIA Newark and Suburban, Architects League of Northern New Jersey, Architecture Students, Diversity, Emerging Professionals, EquityInArchitecture, K12 Architecture Education, Women in Architecture | Tagged: #AIANJK12, #ALNNJ, #architects, #Architecture, #CeciliaCanoAssociateAIA, #ChrisBrandAIA, #CitizenArchitect, #CommunityService, #DellyYakerAIA, #EricLamAIA, #FairLawn, #FayLoganAIA, #ghanialayachi, #JenniferMarshAIA, #JosephDavidAIA, #K12, #Leonia, #LouisDiGeronimoAIA, #Mentorship, #NorthernHighlands, #NorthernValleyOldTappan, #Paramus, #PascackHills, #PascackValley, #PaulTiajoloffAIA, #Ramsey, #RyanMoranAIA, #SimoneTsigounisAIA, #StaceyKlieschAIA, #StaceyRuhleKlieschAIA, #STEAM, #STEAMGIRLS, #STEMGirls, #StevenLazarusAIA, #SWEnext, #Tenafly, #tenaflyhighschool, #tenaflystemleagueclub, #Vernon, #Waldwick, #Westwood, #womeninarchitecture, #WomenInArchitectureMonth, #WomenInArchitectureShowcase, #WomenInSTEAM, #WomensHistoryMonth, #Womensupportingwomen, Architect, mentors | Comments (0)
Architects are creative professionals, educated, trained, and experienced in the art and science of building design, and licensed to practice architecture. Their designs respond to client needs, wants and vision, protect public safety, provide economic value, are innovative, inspire and contribute positively to the community and the environment.