Santa Monica College News & Events


< Return To Archive | Print This Page

CONTACT: Bruce Smith
Public Information Officer
(310) 434-4209
DATE: April 26, 2005

Team Beats Out Students from Top Architecture & Design Schools

Two Santa Monica College students competed against more than 30 students from a wide variety of universities – including top architecture and design schools – to capture the first-place award in a prestigious Southern California design competition.

The SMC team of James Butterly and Carlos Munoz won the American Institute of Architects/Los Angeles Interior Architecture 2005 Annual Design Competition for four-year universities and two-year colleges in Southern California. The top honors came with a $10,000 prize.

Butterly and Munoz were among 36 students competing from 18 schools, including the Southern California Institute of Architecture, Otis School of Art & Design, USC, Art Center College of Design, and San Diego State University.

“We are tremendously proud of our students and their talents and grateful to be part of this prestigious competition,” said interior architectural design professor Denise Travis.

Students were given six hours to design an unusual project – an entertainment venue that would attract young people in their 20s but would also secretly be used by the American intelligence community to recruit the nation’s “best and brightest young talent.” The 6,000-square-foot venue was to be located on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

Butterly and Munoz designed a hip cyber restaurant/bar/café that included computer stations for Internet access and sophisticated video games. They created an elaborate scenario in which the computer game players were monitored by members of the CIA and other intelligence agencies to find potential recruits.

Those who displayed special decoding abilities would be given access to a VIP mezzanine area to meet with recruiting agents.

“I could immediately relate to the assignment because I’m a big fan of the TV show ‘Alias,’” Butterly said. “In our case, we wanted the space to be fun and interactive on the surface level but we needed to tell a uniquely different story on another through the many complex layers of intricate high-tech design.”

Munoz said he believes that the presentation of their concept is what won over the judges. “We dressed in blazers wearing sunglasses, like two agents from ‘Men in Black,’ and we introduced ourselves as secret operatives with a special design mission.

Butterly, of Los Angeles, and Munoz, of Santa Monica, said they worked well together as a team and were delighted to learn they had made the best impression on the distinguished judges.

# # #





^ Back to the top
Copyright © 2005 Santa Monica Community College