Campus: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo -- January 15, 2002

Cal Poly's Cardboard Boat Regatta Set for Jan. 27; Student Creations Also on Display Jan. 25

Cal Poly's Cardboard Boat Regatta returns to the campus's Recreation Center Pool 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Jan. 27 with twice as many entries as last year's event.

More than 75 students in a fundamental architectural design class will design, construct and attempt to navigate vessels made from two 4-foot-by-6-foot sheets of cardboard, brown paper tape and clear polyurethane waterproofing. To qualify for the final race for the regatta's coveted "Cardboard Cup," each craft must stay afloat through one qualifying heat.

The event is sponsored by the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, and admission is free.

New guidelines this year will challenge students to create imaginative flotation devices likely to differ from the traditional boat designs of previous regattas, said project coordinator and Architecture Professor Howard Weisenthal.

"We'll see more exotic devices, not just boats," Weisenthal said.

"This one-week assignment is directly related to the architectural design profession," he said. "The students will combine problem-solving skills, construction detailing and aspects of documentation.

"This will also be one of their first exercises in professional ethics, where they take responsibility for their designs. If they fail and get soaked, they'll have only themselves to blame."

Aiding Weisenthal with the regatta this year are architecture professors Barry Williams, James Bagnall and Laura Joines-Novotny.

Visitors can preview the creations and talk with the student designers on the university's Dexter Lawn from 1 to 2 p.m. Jan. 25. (Bad weather will move the advance viewing to the stairwell area of the Architecture and Environmental Design Building.) Visitors will also be able to inspect the entries 10-10:30 a.m. Jan. 27, just before the races begin.

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