St. Michaels University School has a new addition to its beautiful campus, thanks to two of its architecturally inclined students.
Earlier this year, SMUS seniors Fo Wu and Jasmine Yu won the High School Parklet Design competition at the Festival of Architecture in Nanaimo, designing a creative outdoor space for people to relax. Their parklet was recently unveiled on the SMUS campus, bringing their drawings to life.
“Every day, we pass by and see our work built here,” said Wu. “I’m really happy that I got this opportunity.”
“We’re like, ‘Whoa, isn’t this something from one of our sketches?’ But it’s real,” said Yu.
Influenced by nature, the parklet has benches shaped like maple leaves and an ocean-inspired fence surrounding it on three sides. Parklets are typically installed in urban areas, offering pedestrians a place to sit down.
While they were both new to architecture prior to the competition, Wu and Yu clearly excelled at the craft, taking their nature-inspired design from blueprints to a 3D model to its physical iteration with the help of architect Greg Demant, IT teacher Peter Steed and their art teacher Chris Bateman.
“It’s absolutely incredible that the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada offered a competition where there was actually going to be something physically built from the student designs,” said Bateman. “I know it was an incredible amount of work by the organizers and there are so many adults involved in making this happen.
“It’s amazing how many people chipped in to make these girls’ vision become a reality.”
The duo competed against teams from Gulf Islands Secondary School and Aspengrove School in Lantzville, with all three teams showcasing their designs in Nanaimo before a panel of judges selected SMUS as the winner.
“The other two parklets were really good,” said Wu. “All the judges were really nice and they shared their different views on the different parklets.
“One of my favourite parts was sharing contacts with all the professional architects and getting to know their work better. I think it will be really helpful for us in the future when we want to enter architecture.”
For coming in first, Wu and Yu received a $900 team prize as well as $2,000 for SMUS.