ACE Mentor LogoCongratulations to the students from the Peninsula One Team that were selected to travel to Washington DC on April 21st to present their term project in the ACE National Competition. The other team selected as finalists are:

The ACE Mentor Program of Frederick, MD

The ACE Mentor Program of Kansas City, MO; and

The ACE Mentor Program of San Francisco, CA.

Congratulations to all of you.


The ACE Mentor newsletter for the San Francisco Affiliate has been published for the year. Check out the link below to get an update on the teams throughout the Bay Area:

ACE Mentor – San Francisco Bay Area – Newsletter 2007 – 2008

This session started with Michael Nelson (Skanska) leading a spaghetti tower build activity. The activity was intended to introduce the students to a general contractor’s and construction manager’s focus on the scope, schedule, and budget of a construction project.

img_1841.jpg– The scope of the project was to build the tallest tower possible with the given materials (a box of spaghetti and a bag of large marshmallow)

– The schedule of the project was 30 minutes.

– The budget was determined by the amount of time spent on the design phase ($1 Million per minute) and the time spent on the construction phase ($2 Million per minute).

Refer to the pictures below of the tower building activity.


The second half of the meeting was used to introduce the student to building codes and why they are necessary. This part of the discussion was led by Dora Chan (Stoeker and Northway Architects), Jon Chan (Stoeker and Northway Architects), and Jani Nair (City of San Jose).


On the session before the holidays, the group worked on the term project. Many design ideas were discussed as the group worked towards a cohesive conceptual design for the “Shelter in a Storm” Term Project.

As you research design ideas for your “Shelter in a Storm” House, I thought you might be interested in the following unique houses:

FACTOR 10 HOUSE – This house was built in Chicago a few years ago in an attempt to incorporate sustainable elements into a residential design. The diagram below showcases some of the more unique features of this house. You can found out more about this house at:

Factor 10 House at AIA Website

(Click on the diagram below for a larger version)


BIG DIG HOUSE – In Boston there has been a huge construction project going on for years to replace the main roads through the center of the city. Some of the construction materials that were used for temporary structures or roadways on the project were scheduled to be hauled to a landfill — that is until a team of designers and construction professionals came up with a idea to reuse some of these construction materials to build a house (picture below). This house demonstrates that recycled material can be an important source of construction materials for new homes.

You can found out more about the house and its recycled components at:

Big Dig House


During this session, we reviewed the “Shelter in a Storm” Term Project in detail and began sketching conceptual drawings. Each student started by sketching out their ideas. Then we divided into two groups and each student presented their ideas to one another. Each of the two groups will combine their design ideas into one house design. During all this hard work by the students, we found time for a quick pizza and soda break (thanks to Skanska for sponsoring this part of the session)

The presentation that I covered during the class can be found at:

The updated schedule for the balance of the program can be found at the link on the right hand side of this blog or at the link below:

Pictures of the students working on their designs follow:


As we work on our term project for the national design competition, I thought the group would like to see the video slideshow from the First Annual ACE National Design Competition which was held last year. Link below: