Naperville North Students Win Title for Home Design

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Byline: Justin Kmitch jkmitch@dailyherald.com

State championship banners representing accomplishments in everything from football to badminton are on display at Naperville North High School.

Now it's time to hang another banner, although this one has nothing to do with sports. The school's latest winning team was named the 2013 Mock Firms Illinois State Champion in Home Design.

Four students in Rebecca DiOrio's architecture and pre-engineering class recently captured that distinction by outperforming 27 teams at the annual competition sponsored by Chicago Architecture Today.

In early November, students were given a choice to enter the competition or complete a similar final project assigned by DiOrio. Juniors Evan Harrison, Christopher Greco, Jon Quinn and sophomore Lauren Hanson stepped up to compete.

They then spent the next six months working with Diorio and outside professional Jon Murawski, of DLA Architects in Itasca, to design and model a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold standard home that could be built on an available lot near a college campus anywhere in the United States.

Hanson said the group initially focused on empty lots in California but quickly realized land prices were significantly cheaper in some areas of the East Coast. The students eventually identified a one-acre lot in Amherst, Mass., less than a mile form the University of Massachusetts campus and got to work.

"The essence of the project was we had to design a house for a college student that focused on environmental friendliness," Harrison said. …