A Rice Lake High School student’s dream to become an architect and design houses is becoming a reality.
Lianne Konijnenburg asked her technology education teacher Dan Buchmann if she could do an independent study in architectural design and residential layouts. She was encouraged to do so, and in the process learned how heating, electrical and plumbing are all incorporated into a building plan.
Then they wondered if they could take the project a step further and build an actual house from her architectural design.
Buchmann met with Barb Silverling, executive director of Barron County Habitat for Humanity, about a possible project, based on Lianne’s design, for his Construction Framing class.
Silverling informed him that the nonprofit’s top priority at this time is to build a house for family living in unsuitable conditions in Hillsdale. She said they are living in a home with no potable water nor septic system with very poor insulation and a collapsed floor.
Habitat’s goal for the family is a two-bedroom, one bath house that is wheelchair accessible with two entries.
Lianne took on the challenge and designed a layout to meet their needs, which includes a storm shelter in the bathroom.
Buchmann told the Rice Lake Board of Education at its Nov. 11 meeting that the plan is to build the house in two halves on school grounds during fourth quarter, then transport it to the site and set it on a foundation. Students will help set the house and finish the roofing and siding on site. Habitat for Humanity volunteers will finish the interior.
“Her goal is to become an architect,” Buchmann said, while introducing Lianne to the board. “This is helping her a ton. The community needs workers, and the school is helping someone in the community.”
He said the project will give Lianne more experience in working with CAD (computer aided design) programs, and it will give the construction class a hands-on, real world experience in residential construction and framing.
Buchmann told the board members if the district’s partnership with Habitat becomes a reoccurrence, it would build future houses within the Rice Lake Area School District.
The aspiring architect showed the board a model of the house she designed that will be built come spring.
Board member Abbey Fischer asked her if she got to choose the building materials. “For my model I did,” Lianne replied. Silverling said house materials are included in Habitat’s budget.
The Habitat director said this Hillsdale family is their top priority this year but agreed that in future years students could build a house “literally in your own backyard.”