The annual Poly Canyon Design Village competition where students build structures to live in for Open House will have more participants than it has had in many years.

About 200 students from about 15 schools throughout the state of California will make up the 46 teams entered in this year’s event, almost doubling the size of the 2005 contest.

The theme of this year’s competition is “Go Convertible: The essence of switch-rich architecture.”

Students will build structures in Poly Canyon and live in them during Open House weekend. Teams of two to six students have been working on their designs since the Design Village Club determined the theme in January.

The contest is run by student volunteers from all departments of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. Senior architecture major Amy Strazzarino, one of the students organizing the event, said they chose this year’s theme to get the competitors’ creativity flowing in a different direction.

“We wanted moveable, changeable structures,” she said. “Something playful to get their brains working more. It’s just a really great learning experience.”

She said it’s great to see the variety of concepts each year, because some people will take the theme literally, while other designs don’t seem to connect to the theme until the team explains them.

The contest will open Friday at 8 a.m., and major construction must be done by nightfall. The area will be open to the public on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be a free shuttle from the bottom of Poly Canyon Road. Judging will start at 10 a.m., and the public can vote for the “People’s Choice” trophy. Some of the judges will be from the American Institute of Architects.

The club’s adviser, architecture professor Michael Lucas, said that the event is a great opportunity for future students to get a look at a different side of the college.

“For the students who come here, this is something that is very tangible,” he said. “They see the stuff in Design Village and I think that’s the bridge that makes them think, ‘I can do that.’”

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