IIT Architecture Students Andrea Zuniga and Daniel Caven Win ComEd Powerful Design Contest

ComEd Chief Operating Officer Terence Donnelly, contest winners Daniel Caven and Andrea Zuniga, and ComEd President and CEO Anne Pramaggiore stand in front of Caven and Zuniga's winning design, "Seed of Light."

ComEd announced the winners of its “Powerful Design” contest, in which local architecture students created design concepts for a new training facility on Chicago’s South Side, on May 1.  IIT architecture undergraduate students Andrea Zuniga and Daniel Caven created the winning entry, entitled “Seed of Light.”  The contest also included teams from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

The winning team members will receive paid summer internships at Design Organization, the Chicago architecture firm selected by ComEd to design the new facility. The winning team also will receive a $1,500 cash prize to be split evenly among the team members.

“We’re excited to engage with aspiring architects and provide students with a real-world opportunity to showcase their skills,” said Anne Pramaggiore, president and CEO, ComEd, at a news conference at the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

Pramaggiore served as a member of the contest jury, which included Jeanne Gang, principal and founder of Studio Gang Architects; Lourdes Gonzalez, senior vice president of Primera Engineers; Raj Gupta, CEO of Environmental Systems Design, Inc.; and Wilbur Milhouse III, president and CEO at Milhouse Engineering & Construction.

“Selecting a winner was not easy as all of the entries were very strong,” said Raj Gupta. “It is exciting to see such talented aspiring architects developing design concepts at this level.”

Participants were at least fourth-year undergraduate or master’s students. While “Seed of Light” won first place, other prize winners included the “Looking In, Climbing Up” entry from UIC, the “Arena” entry from UIC, and the “Aletheia” entry from the SAIC.

“We’re excited to offer internships to the talented winners of this competition,” said Spero Valavanis, president of Design Organization. “They have demonstrated considerable skill, creativity and vision and we are eager to work with them and ComEd on this important project.”

As part of the company’s $2.6 billion investment under the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act enacted last fall by the Illinois General Assembly, ComEd will build a LEED-certified facility to train a new generation of utility workers in the advanced skills needed to modernize the electric grid.  The training center will contain classrooms, office space, new technology exhibits, conference rooms and student break areas.  It also will feature 20 indoor underground cable-splicing bays, a weather-protected pole yard, overhead conductors, distribution automation equipment, manholes and substation equipment for use by trainees.  ComEd plans to begin construction on the facility later this year.

“We are proud to be part of this process and to showcase the work of local architecture students,” said Lynn J. Osmond, president and CEO of the Chicago Architecture Foundation. “We encourage Chicagoans to come see the works of these talented students enrolled in the top architecture programs in a city known for great architecture.”

The Powerful Design contestants were honored at an awards ceremony at 5:30 p.m. on May 1 at the Chicago Architecture Foundation.  The entries will be on display through May 23, 2012.