To Dallas and Back: the Oaklin Design Build Experience

29 November 2011:  In February of this year, a combined team of DIT students and students from Oklahoma University entered the highly competitive annual USA Design Build Competition organised by the Associated Schools of Construction and sponsored by Speed Fab-Crete.   The challenge set by the competition exactly mirrors a professional project, and the standard is extremely high.  The outcome of the adventure was an outright win for the ‘Oaklin’ team, beating stiff US and international competition.

Their competition journey was as remarkable as their final win, and the story is now being told in full through a publication entitled To Dallas and Back – the Oaklin Design Build Experience.


The DIT Oaklin team members with coaches, left, Lloyd Scott and right, Ken Robson

The ‘Oaklin’ team comprised three DIT students - final year students of Construction Management Peter Whoriskey and Brendan Towey, and 4th Year student of Architecture Simon Harringon; and three students from Oklahoma University – Molly Lyons and Dan Grasham (Construction Science) and Brandon Coates (Architecture). Working under the guidance of team coaches Lloyd Scott in DIT and Kenneth Robson in University of Oklahoma, the combined team started preparing for the Design Build competition in October 2010. The team was required to provide a response to a Request for Proposal for the design/build services for a new Primary School for Arlington Classics Academy, Arlington, Texas.

Communicating initially via SKYPE from opposite sides of the Atlantic, the two groups of students were already in synch with one another as a team before they met in person when the DIT trio travelled to Oklahoma in February to participate in the final stages of the competition.  After the initial welcome at Oklahoma University campus, the final and formal competition began. The team were allocated a secure ‘lockdown’ room, without access to advisers, and were given from 8 am until midnight to finalise their plan and complete binders outlining their project in full.  At midnight, work had to stop – no further amendments!  They then travelled to Dallas for the competition and submitted their project.  The next stage was a thirty-minute presentation to the panel of judges.

At the end of this pressurised experience, the Oaklin team came first in the competition, ahead of all other US and international teams. It was a fantastic achievement by the team and a fantastic experience for each of the participants. The students have told the story of their experience in To Dallas and Back, and it makes fascinating reading. Earlier this month, the Irish members of the team with coach Lloyd Scott, welcomed their Oklahoma coach Kenneth Robson to DIT. They took the opportunity to visit the President of DIT, Professor Brian Norton, to present him with a copy of their publication and to give him their first-hand account of the competition.

Peter Whoriskey and Brendan Towey have just graduated from DIT this year while Simon Harrington is continuing his architecture studies, but their story - To Dallas and Back: The Oaklin Design Build Experience - is a fascinating account of a truly memorable learning experience for the participants.  Copies of the book will be available through Lloyd Scott in the School of Construction, DIT.  You can also read the DIT team members’ blog at the following address:


Oaklin team members celebrate after presentations at Texo Headquarters

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