Yale-bound Brooklynite reaches top 10 in high school architecture contest

Brooklyn Technical High School senior Victoria Ereskina is building herself a bright future, literally.

The aspiring architect entered the DiscoverDesign.org National High School Architecture Competition sponsored by the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF), a non-profit organization dedicated to education in architecture and solving real-world design problems and was among the 10 finalists who submitted design projects to redesign their high school athletic pavilions to promote healthy lifestyles.

“I believe it was my ability to realistically render the final result to the judges that stood out enough for me to make it into the top 10,” she said.

Ereskina stated that her design was influenced by both practicality and lighting. “In my proposal, one of the main issues I addressed was the size of the Brooklyn Tech gym. My school has a courtyard one story below grade right outside the exterior wall that contains the first floor gym. It serves as a parking lot for two dozen or so staff members. If I would extend the gym into that area, the lot would no longer be unobstructed to the sky. If I would make the floor transparent, it would violate privacy on both sides.”

With some thought, Ereskina eventually found a solution to the issue. “I did some research on materials that would let light through, but diffuse it to produce illumination,” she said. This included a curtain wall mullion ceiling system.

The constraints of an older building also served as inspiration for her creative design. “There is limited flexibility when it comes to separation of space,” Ereskina explained. “For the interior of the gym, I implemented the use of movable walls. Sometimes, a large open area is of best convenience. Sometimes, for smaller groups doing different types of physical activity, it would be more practical to separate these designated areas.”

The CAF helped Ereskina hone her skills thanks to invaluable lessons the organization taught the participants. “Communication of your work is useful for anyone trying to be good at anything, but it’s especially vital for architects. I thank the CAF for presenting the opportunity to improve these skills, for the enjoyment of the process, and for reinforcing my aspirations as an architect,” the aspiring architect said.

Ereskina will remember her time at Brooklyn Tech fondly. “Choosing Brooklyn Tech was the best decision I’ve made so far,” said Ereskina, who is currently working at Mancini Duffy, an architecture and interior design firm. “[Teacher] Mrs. Eng taught me everything I’m doing in AutoCAD and Revit at the office.”

This fall, Ereskina will attend Yale University. “Who wouldn’t be excited? Besides having the top graduate school of architecture in the country, Yale has amazing professors, resources and student body. I’m still getting used to the fact that I’m going there in eight weeks,” she remarked.

Thanks to the influence of her favorite architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ereskina has ideas for improving the landscape of architecture.

“I believe we must first fix the malfunctions of where we live, work, and play before trying to build the most majestic castles in the sky,” she said. “Our surroundings serve the function of forming our states of mind like the hands around a piece of clay on a pottery wheel.”

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