Hanson Brick sponsors second annual Darcy Courville National Student Design Charrette Ignition 2005

Groups of architectural students from seven universities across Canada spent the last five months learning that sometimes the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. Ignition 2005, the second annual Darcy Courville National Student Design Charrette sponsored by Hanson Brick, is a unique inter-university design collaboration where architectural students work together to create artistic clay brick installations. Students will exhibit their completed artwork at the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s Festival of Architecture in Edmonton, Alberta from May 4 to 7, 2005.

This "charrette," meaning an intense design process involving multiple groups, is organized by the Canadian Architecture Students Association (CASA-ACEA), and has two phases: the sculpting of individual blocks of clay, and the assembly of those pieces into a larger installation. The process begins when Hanson’s in-house brick sculptor, Dennis Cocchio, sends each school nine blocks of clay with which they must sculpt and carve elements of their own design. Each school is assigned a single word, such as "dictatorship," in order to inspire students as the work with the clay.

When the initial design phase is over, the blocks are sent back to Hanson for firing. Once fired, each collection of clay brick is distributed, but to a different school from which it came. Students then assemble the pieces into their final installations, keeping in mind their assigned word and in some cases, introducing other mediums such as wood, plaster or metal.

"This is a very interesting project for students," says Cocchio. "It offers them a chance to get their hands dirty and try something unique. They will learn a lot just from working with the clay and seeing what can happen during a cross-country design charrette."

Hanson Brick launched this event last year in memory of Darcy Courville, a former Hanson architectural representative who supported CASA-ACEA and originally conceived the idea for the charrette. He was unable to get the event up and running before his untimely death in 2002.

"Darcy was a loyal and dedicated person to the industry, and loved working with architectural students," says Errill O’Hara, general sales manager for Hanson Brick. "Hanson sponsors this event in order to perpetuate his vision."

Students will exhibit the completed artwork at the RAIC Festival of Architecture May 5 from 7:30am to 5:00pm at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton. For more information, visit www.raicfestival2005.ca.