Spring Branch ISD Featured News

Guthrie Center students redefine the term “shelter” in architecture competition

In August of 2021, the Texas Society of Architects launched a new student design competition for high school students. The competition was open to students’ interpretation of what “shelter” means to them and their solutions to it.

The architectural design program at The Guthrie Center at Spring Branch ISD entered the competition with its advanced architectural design program students (levels 2 and 3), and the students had six weeks to design and present their architectural interpretations of “shelter.”

Under the guidance of program instructors Fuad Loutfi and Xavier Martinez, students worked through the design process of research, sketching, AutoCAD, SketchUp Pro, and a rendering engine called Lumion.

The competition had 98 entries from 24 high school in 14 cities. Two of The Guthrie Center architecture design program students received recognitions in the competition:

Neena Lester earned the People’s Choice Award. She is in level 3 of the program and is a senior at Stratford High School. Her shelter design focused on clusters of single-occupancy housing for homeless individuals to use for the time they need to get into more permanent housing. Lester was inspired to address this need for shelter because of a friend who is homeless.

Amelia Nuzzo, a junior at Memorial High School, was a top five finalist. She is in level 2 of the architectural design program. For her competition submission, Nuzzo was inspired to create a women’s shelter to benefit those escaping from domestic violence, having known people who have been in that situation. 

Nuzzo’s shelter design is based on the needs of women who may be single or with children so the occupancy is mixed and rooms vary in size. The plan is actually inspired from the graphic symbol for females and gives much of the building its shape and direction.


The Guthrie Center is home to 15 career and technical education (CTE) programs. High school students from across Spring Branch ISD travel to the school to take elective courses where they can earn certifications and hands-on experience to help them reach T-2-4 goals after graduation. Other CTE programming, such as business and welding, takes place at designated high school campuses.