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Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

Architecture Students Learn, Brick by Brick, from Masons

Nine teams of architecture students from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) competed in a recent Masonry Design-Build Competition, with four teams winning nearly $ 20,000 in prize money.

The contest, sponsored by the Masonry Contractors of New Jersey and co-sponsored by the International Masonry Institute, taught the students techniques they don’t commonly encounter in design studios: how to spread mortar and lay brick. 

More than 100 students, all sophomores at the New Jersey School of Architecture, designed and built parts of small cultural centers using masonry elements such as brick, mortar and concrete. The centers could hypothetically be placed in the Ironbound District of Newark.  Forty masons spent two days at NJIT teaching the students how to build. 

“The masonry design-build competition establishes understanding and mutual respect between design and building professionals,” said Urs P. Gauchat, dean of the New Jersey School of Architecture at NJIT. “Architecture students are introduced to the parameters of masonry materials – lessons the students remember during their life-long careers as architects.” 

The Masonry Contractors awarded the winning teams nearly $20,000 in prize money that will help them get through college, Gauchat said, adding that they also awarded a $5,000 scholarship fund to NJIT. Each student was also given $50. 

After the teams finished building their walls, the nine mock-ups lined the long promenade leading to the architecture school. A panel of judges evaluated the walls, listened to student presentations on design and building, and announced the following winners:

The first place team, which will share a $7,500 prize, included Natalie Youssef, Franklin Park; Frank Mascoli; Pearl River, N.Y.; Hayk Ekshian, Westwood; James DeRosa, Chester; James Schulenburg, Basking Ridge; John Anthal, Franklin Township; William Brenner, Hackettstown; Stephanie Wong, Parsippany; Lauren Page, Hillsborough; Daniel Himmer; Rising Sun, Md.; Charles Anderson Jr., Trenton; and Thomas Golda, North Arlington. 

The second place team, which will share a $5,000 prize, included Brian Mizerek, Hampton Township; Jason Colbert, Point Pleasant; Maor Segal, Millburn; Damian Wentzel, Pitman; Priyank Patel, Piscataway; Eldion Habazaj, Hewitt; Jose Hernandez, Jersey City; Frank Cedillo, Moonachie; You-mi Jang, Atlantic City; Janki Vyas, Jersey City; Emil Hristov, Old Bridge; and Eno Kotmilo, Fort Lee. 

 The third place team, which will share a $3,000 prize, included David Koppler, West Town, N.Y.; John Kazlauskas, Woodbridge; Alyssa Strumolo, Northfield; Jesus Marmol, Paterson; Kristin O’Connell, Hamilton; Adam Grosshaus, Colonia; Stephen Arlt, Leonia; Sameh Salmon, Newark; Robert Verrengia, North Haledon; Trevor Nauta, Montgomery, N.Y.; Robert Golda, Succasunna; Ali Aslam, Nutley; and Ashton Quintin, Paterson. 

The fourth place team was awarded $1,500.

“We were extremely impressed by the caliber of work produced by all of the participating students,” said Michael Schmerbeck, association president of Masonry Contractors of New Jersey. “The emphasis of our competition is on the importance of linking design ideas with hands-on experience.” 

Masonry Contractors of New Jersey, based in Bordentown, is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting quality union masonry craftsmanship, the latest technological advances and the highest safety standards.  For more information about Masonry Contractors of New Jersey, please visit www.masonrycontractorsofnj.org.

One of the nation's leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT's multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of more than 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering, and cyber-security, in addition to others. NJIT ranks 5th among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $110 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com.