DCTC students fare well in USGBC design competition

Tressa Koukal, Erin Fletcher and Cory Gould show off their second place design.

Architecture Technology and Interior Design students teamed up for chance to design the Wakan Tipi Center in St. Paul as part of USGBC competition

Two teams from Dakota County Technical College placed in the United States Green Building Council Natural Design Competition.  DCTC students had two top place finishes including second place team Tressa Koukal, Erin Fletcher and Cory Gould; and third place team Guyon Brennao, Dyonne Danielson, Filiz Guvenen and Cameron Johnson.

The competition challenged teams of students to come up with concepts for the Wakan Tipi Center which will be constructed in the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary in St. Paul. DCTC Architectural Technology and Interior Design students teamed up to create designs for the competition.

USGBC award3

DCTC Interior Design and Architectural Technology students teamed up for the United States Green Business Council Natural Design Competition.

The USGBC-MN Natural Talent Design competition provides an applied learning experience in the principles of integrated design, sustainability, innovation and social consciousness, all components of the LEED Green Building Rating System.

Interior Design Instructor Meghan Hendrickson said the competition provided students an opportunity to create designs for the new construction of the visitor and interpretive center at the park. The Wakan Tipi Center, located in St. Paul, will be a multi-use facility where visitors can learn about the ecology, history and culture of St. Paul’s eastern stretch of the Mississippi River.

“It was an amazing opportunity for our students,” said Meghan.

The Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary was a significant site for Native Americans. It also features unique natural features including a cave located in the sandstone bluff that rims the north edge of the park. The overall design of the center had to enhance appreciation of the site including its natural and cultural history. Additionally, the project had to meet LEED New Construction guidelines.

Architectural Design student Tressa Koukal said the competition offered the unique opportunity to work on a project that will be constructed as well as to incorporate LEED guidelines into the design.

“It was a really great opportunity. We don’t usually work on things that could be built and it was a good experience to work with LEED elements,” said Tressa.

Guyon Brennao, Dyonne Danielson, Filiz Guvenen and Cameron Johnson took third in the USGBC-MN Natural Design Competition.

Guyon Brennao, Dyonne Danielson, Filiz Guvenen and Cameron Johnson took third in the USGBC-MN Natural Design Competition.

Working on the project also offered a glimpse into the professional world. Architectural Design student Erin Fletcher said she enjoyed the experience of having a client and working towards their vision. Additionally, Fletcher said working with interior design students offered insight into the cooperative effort required in the professional world.

Interior Design student Dyonne Danielson echoed those sentiments saying, she found working with architectural design students to be a welcome challenge. In particular, Dyonne said she enjoyed working through the creative process with other design students.

“We had a very cohesive group. We worked hard to mesh our ideas and come up with a great project,” said Dyonne.

This is the first year DCTC has participated in the USBGC-MN Natural Design talent competition, however; instructor Meghan Hendrickson said she hopes it’s not the last.

“It was a chance for our students to be enthusiastic about a project that will be built. They also had the opportunity to meet people and network. We will definitely do it again,” said Meghan.

To learn more about the Interior Design or Architectural Design programs contact:

Meghan Hendrickson

Interior Design Instructor



Anne Painter

Architectural Technology Instructor