By Ana Veciana-Suarez
On these grounds, inside these walls, teenagers have learned their lessons, met their friends, planned their future and grown familiar with both success and failure. Now as graduation approaches, these architecture and industrial design students have been challenged with one last task: Re-imagine your school.
Sketch out a dream campus. Decorate it with an attractive interior. And populate it with a welcoming landscape of lush and native trees.
“We’ve been here four years and we know what works and what doesn’t,” says Susan Alonso, a senior in the architecture program at Miami’s nationally ranked Design and Architecture Senior High. “We’ve been walking the halls and sitting in the classroom. We know what we would want to change.”
Alonso and her teammate Frank Fuentes are among the 43 DASH seniors participating in a contest sponsored by philanthropists Carlos and Rosa de la Cruz and the Knight Foundation. The teams of two must come up with drawings and three-dimensional models for the art school of the future. DASH, with 500 students, is the art school of the present — or, considering its modest campus, some might say the art school of the past.
“We have an amazing staff and great classes,” says Isaac Lubarsky, an industrial design senior also participating in the contest. “But the building itself… well, not so much.”
Located in the Design District, where storefronts beckon with beautiful art and furnishings, DASH is a former showroom that dates to the 1970s. So it wasn’t built as a soaring structure, the kind of edifice that would symbolize budding designers’ lofty ambitions.
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