In 2014, the DiscoverDesign.org National High School Architecture Competition introduced us to one of the nation’s bright young talents, Christopher Kumaradjaja of Briarcliff, New York.
Challenged with redesigning his own high school’s athletic pavilion, Christopher submitted the winning project, which put on display his sophisticated approach to reorganizing circulation spaces to create a socially-engaging environment.
Christopher used DiscoverDesign.org, CAF’s web-based learning tool that lets students solve design problems through project-based learning, with professional designers providing peer interaction and feedback during every step of the design process. Alongside Christopher, 219 teens from 12 states submitted projects evaluated by a jury of 35 architects, designers and university professors from across the country.
A Planner Since Preschool
Christopher began creating floor plans for homes at the age of four, and over the years his interest moved toward structural design and urban planning. His love of architecture led him to Minecraft, the environment-building video game. "In Minecraft, you're making buildings to serve a purpose. It's absolutely amazing. It's a euphoric feeling," Kumaradjaja said.
Through Minecraft’s interactive format, Christopher developed relationships with likeminded individuals from all over the world. He even taught himself Danish so that he could better communicate with fellow Minecraft players from Denmark! After attending a presentation by Bjarke Ingels, founder of the globally acclaimed Copenhagen-based architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Christopher demonstrated his fluency in Danish. Ingels was so impressed that he offered the 16-year-old Christopher the opportunity to spend a week working in the office.
“I appreciate large-scale projects and public spaces. In the future, I’d like to design structures that improve people’s lives, making them happier and more comfortable…I am constantly fascinated with buildings. I always have a desire to design my own.”
Since 2013, Christopher has served as the president of his high school’s architecture club and, upon graduation in 2016, plans to attend Columbia University to study civil engineering and architecture. CAF is proud to have served Christopher—as well as the 20,000 students and teachers we serve each year—on his lifelong journey with architecture and design.
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