2022-2023 Curriculum

Fall Schedule


2022-2023 Design Challenges

ACE Houston Student Handbook

ACE Houston Project Options: Houston Zoo's Request for Proposals

ACE National/CIRT Design and Construction Competition

Software Links

Miro: Visual collaboration platform that enables teams to collaborate on projects virtually. Click the logo to create a free account.

Sketch-Up: 3-D design software with a simple, yet robust toolset that empowers designers to create models. Click the logo to use their free web-based version.

Autodesk: Broad range of BIM software that supports the AEC industry, including AutoCad and Revit. Click the logo to apply for a free student account.

Google Earth: Explore the world from above with satellite imagery, 3D terrain, and 3D buildings in hundreds of cities around the world. Click the logo above to go to their site.

Homestyler: Online interior design platform that allows designers to create models and 3-D renderings of interior designs. Click the logo above to use their free version.



What we'll cover this week:

  • What is ACE?

    • Background of ACE Houston

    • Expectations and Schedule of Program

    • 2022-2023 Curriculum

    • Meet your mentors

  • What is an RFP?

    • How do design and construction projects get started?

    • What projects will we be working on this year?

wEEK 2, October 25-26: Introduction to Architecture

What we'll cover this week:

  • What is Programming?

  • What is a Bubble Diagram?

  • What are some space planning techniques?

  • What are the first steps an architect takes when they start a new project?

Click the link above for the recording of guest speaker,

Meredith Watassek

Texas Education Leader from Stantec

as she discusses programming, space planning, and bubble diagramming.

wEEK 3, November 1-2: Introduction to Engineering

What we'll cover this week:

  • What types of engineering disciplines are required in the AEC industry?

  • How do engineers collaborate with different disciplines, as well as architects?

  • How does engineering vary from new projects to renovation type work?

  • What challenges do different types of engineers work through on a project?

Click the link above for the recording of guest speaker,

Britney Weidert, P.E.

Structural Team Lead from Stantec

as she discusses the various types of engineering disciplines that work together in the building and design industry.

wEEK 4, November 8-9: Introduction to construction

What we'll cover this week:

  • What does a general contractor do?

  • How does a contractor work with architects and engineers?

  • How does a contractor pick which projects to work on?

  • How do you estimate the cost of a construction project?

  • How do you build a zoo exhibit?

Click the link above for the recording of guest speaker,

Angela Cotie

Vice President, Bartlett Cocke General Contractors

as she talks about a day in the life of a contractor, how to estimate costs on a project, and her experience working on zoo-related projects.

November 12: Site Visit at Houston Zoo

On Saturday, November 12th, 85 students and 28 mentors visited the Houston Zoo for a site visit to do research for our projects this year. The groups visited each of the three project site options to take pictures, observe existing conditions, and try to understand each project within the overall context of the Zoo. We were also grateful to receive a guided tour through the Zoo's newest exhibit, the award-winning Pantanal by Mark Hoffman, Director of Design & Engineering. There we learned about how zoos choose animals and exhibits to feature, heard about how to choose sustainable materials, experienced the many different site lines that make a project great for guests to view, and caught a terrifying, but awe-inspiring, glimpse of Tesoro, their fearsome jaguar.

Huge thank you to the Houston Zoo for making it possible for our students to get to experience the wild right here in Houston - we can't wait to show you the designs we come up with this year!

wEEK 5, November 15-16: Introduction to Zoo Design

This week, Mark Hoffman, Director of Design & Engineering at the Houston Zoo, our client, joined us to talk about why zoos exist and principles of zoo design. He also shared examples from recent projects at the Zoo and gave us advice for our projects this year. He spoke on both Tuesday and Wednesday evening, so all of our students were able to ask questions. The presentation portion of both video recordings below are similar, but the question and answer portion at the end varied. Feel free to enjoy both!

What we'll cover this week:

  • Why do zoos exist?

  • What are the design priorities of the Houston Zoo?

  • What stakeholders do zoo designers create exhibits for?

  • What are some basic principles to keep in mind when designing a zoo?

  • What case studies can we look to for inspiration in design zoo exhibits?

  • What are special construction-related constraints that zoos must consider?

Presentation Slides (click image Below)

1 - Tuesday, November 15th - Virtual, Galena Park, Westside

2 - Wednesday, November 16th - Downtown, Galleria, Northwest

wEEK 6, November 29-30: Project Development

What we'll cover this week:

  • Which project are you most interested in working on this year?

  • What are the fall and spring deliverables for the project?

  • What case studies can we look to for inspiration for our projects?

wEEK 7, December 6-7: coming soon!


Past Projects