Building a bench

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Contestants must design their virtual benches using CAD (computer design software) and then submit their designs to the Design for CHS group. (Submitted image)

Contestants must design their virtual benches using CAD (computer design software) and then submit their designs to the Design for CHS group. (Submitted image)

By Joseph Knoop

Two Carmel High School students are organizing a competition for local designers and architecture enthusiasts to build the city’s next big casual meeting place.

The Build-a-Bench contest, organized by Carmel High School student group Design for CHS, begins Oct.13 and ends Dec. 21. According to the group’s organizers, the competition is designed to counter rising civil unrest by encouraging conversation between people of different backgrounds and cultures.

Benches, which will be judged by Design for CHS co-founders Vikas Maturi and Alex Yom, as well as Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard, will be evaluated on their ability to fulfill the competition’s goal. Creativity, aesthetics, cost-effectiveness, and a general “fit” with Carmel’s culture will also factor into judging.

The idea formed after both students met with Brainard over the summer to discuss potential ways to improve the city.

Both Yom and Maturi have plans to contact local architecture firms for assistance in

judging design, practicality, and required materials.

“I really think the competition is meant to bring people together,” Maturi said. “As society modernizes, we’re often in our own bubble. We’re looking for an interesting design that will inspire conversation.”

Design for CHS was originally founded to design measures to counter social problems, including bicycle safety and water wastage.

A winning selection of one to three benches will be selected and constructed around Carmel. Yom said at least one location has been selected, at the Carmel Rotary block.

The contest is open to legal residents of Carmel or the Indianapolis Metro area, and of any age.

Winners will get the chance to work alongside the City of Carmel and/or local engineering or architecture firms to construct their creation.

For more information, go to designforchs.com.


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