Student Success
Ashcroft Design Challenge winners Teunieke Anker (bottom middle) and Jessica Banman (bottom right) pose with representatives of Ashcroft Master Builder.

A unique home design created by two Lethbridge College students has been named the winner of the second annual Ashcroft Design Challenge. Designer Jessica Banman and animator/virtual reality creator Teunieke Anker were announced as winners during surRENDER, Lethbridge College’s annual Interior Design Technology (IDT) program showcase event on Wednesday evening.

A panel of judges from Ashcroft Master Builder chose the winning design, and Ashcroft will now build the home, with the two students earning the opportunity to work on the project as paid interns. Banman and Anker’s winning design, The Daphne, was selected for its retro-modern look that met with Ashcroft standards as a unique use of space that will meet market demand. The proceeds from the sale of the home will be donated back to the college. 

“I’m so proud of Jessica, Teunieke and all the students who took part in this competition – they have really raised the bar,” says Lethbridge College IDT instructor Cherie Reitzel. “Jessica and Teunieke built strong relationships with the Ashcroft team and showed a willingness to adapt, listen and act quickly to create a design that perfectly marries creative flair with the realities of the industry.”

Students in the IDT program began designing and animating their home designs in January. Members of the Ashcroft team frequently visited campus to work with the students to ensure the designs met industry standards. Ten teams presented their designs in early April, and Ashcroft representatives picked both the three finalists and the winning design.

“We are so excited with the step that this challenge has taken in its second year,” says Dave Bodell, Ashcroft Master Builder general manager. “We had a chance to work really closely with the students this year, which not only helps give them a taste of what their future careers will entail, but also energizes us. Working with Cherie, the suppliers and trades partners, and the students has been a tremendous experience and we can’t wait to see where it goes in the future.”

The Ashcroft Design Challenge was a success in its first year, as it was won by students Lina Wiebe and Jada Kot. The winning design, called The Emberly, was built in Lethbridge’s Garry Station subdivision and Wiebe worked with Ashcroft as a paid intern. The home design was selected as a finalist for an award for best design in its price range by the Building Industry and Land Development Association – Lethbridge Region.

Banman and Anker will now have the opportunity to gain valuable industry experience and contacts as part of this one-of-a-kind industry partnership.

“Not only is it immensely rewarding to see my design as a first year student come to life, but for me personally it’s a huge accomplishment,” says Banman. “I come from a traditional Mennonite background and I’m the first person in my family to go to college. Since I was very little, I was drawing houses and dreaming up ideas of being an architect one day. The support I’ve had from my family has been incredible, and I love being able to make them proud. This is an incredible opportunity for myself, but I really want to show other young people from my culture — especially girls — that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to.”

Anker was a top-three finalist in the first year of the Ashcroft Design Challenge. She says she used what she learned from that experience to improve her team’s chances this year.

“I am so happy and thankful for winning the Ashcroft design challenge this year,” says Anker. “We learned so much from this experience and enjoyed every bit of it. Winning this competition also created many new opportunities for us.”

The Ashcroft Design Challenge is part of a multi-faceted partnership between Ashcroft Master Builder and Lethbridge College. Proceeds from the sale of the home support the Ashcroft: Giving Back scholarship contest, which awards a scholarship to a deserving student who may otherwise not be able to afford post-secondary education.

The first winner of the contest was Tyler Dow, who is currently enrolled in General Studies at Lethbridge College and will be joining the Digital Communications and Media program in September.

Ashcroft Master Builder Ltd. is an award-winning home builder based in Lethbridge. It was one of the first builders to take part in The College Home project with Lethbridge College and the Building Industry Land Development (formerly Canadian Home Builders’ Association) – Lethbridge Region. The company has a history of philanthropic efforts in the southern Alberta community, including its yearly Christmas campaign.

The college’s Interior Design Technology and newly-announced Architectural Animation Technology programs offer students the opportunity to learn leading-edge design techniques and technologies that prepare them to thrive in the home design industry.