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2016 Masonry Design/Build Competition at NJIT
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Bordentown, NJ 08505

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Established in the fall of 2003, this annual Masonry Design/Build Competition, sponsored by Masonry Contractors of New Jersey in cooperation with the BAC ADC of New Jersey Labor Management Fund, is held at the NJIT College of Architecture and Design in Newark, NJ.  Each year the architectural students are given the task to design a project in a real-life location (a Boys and Girls Club, a Montessori School, a Marketplace, etc.) and then build, in only 2 days, a mock up of a critical masonry element.

Over 100 students, divided into eight teams, are required to research the site and explore various masonry materials using unit masonry as the primary building materials in their designs.  Students then select one design from each team and collaborate with masonry contractors and craftworkers to complete the project design and order masonry materials.  All masonry materials are donated by members of Masonry Contractors of New Jersey.

Contractors and craftworkers teach the students how to spread mortar and lay brick, as well as mentor them in proper installation techniques.  By working directly with the masonry professionals the students gain a better understanding of the masonry trade- a lesson we believe the students will remember throughout their careers. 

“The Masonry Design/Build Competition establishes understanding and mutual respect between design and building professionals,” says Urs P. Gauchat, Dean of the College of Architecture and Design.  “Architecture students are introduced to the parameters of masonry materials and, as you would imagine, a more informed designer will certainly create a higher quality product.” 

“These students are learning that architecture is about building and not just about making pictures on paper or having digital models,” said Dean Gauchat.  “This is the real thing.”

“When we began this program years ago, no one ever imagined it would turn into such an integral part of the NJIT educational process and one of the most unforgettable experiences in the students’ academic pursuits at the College of Architecture and Design,” commented Michael Schmerbeck, past President of Masonry Contractors of New Jersey. 

The competition is judged by well known architects, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Officers, the Dean of the College and other industry professionals.  It has been so successful it has become part of the second year architecture students’ curriculum.

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