“After you walk on water, what can you be afraid of?” said Professor Jaime Canaves.
Since 1989, architecture students in Canaves' methods and materials course gather around the lake behind the Green Library to put their learning to practice for what has now become an FIU tradition – Walk on Water. The competition consists of designing and constructing floatable shoes that can be used to "walk" across the lake—a distance of about 350 feet.
This year, 51 teams of students in the no. 16 nationally ranked School of Architecture showcased their athleticism, creativity and design skills at the big event. In preparation, students practiced day and night at the lake, all in the hopes of crossing the finish line to get an “A” on their project, but also the possibility of a $1,000 cash prize for finishing first. In addition, if the student manages to surpass the record time, they receive an additional $1,000 prize.
Under their Looney Tunes-inspired team name, “Road Runners," sophomore architecture students Andre Morgan and Jorge Tabla were the 2022 champions. They scurried across the lake to finish in 44.71 seconds – breaking the record that was only set last year of 51.5 seconds.
“We practiced a lot and practice makes perfect,” Morgan said. “This is one step closer to my goals. I want to become an architect and, hopefully, open my own firm.”
Students don’t have to design shoes or get into the lake to participate in Walk on Water. Freshmen in the school's beginning figure drawing course sit on the shore of the lake to draw scenery during the event. Next year, they will have the opportunity to compete in the tradition.
“It was really fun being out here seeing what we would do next year,” said architecture major Brian Rodriguez. “It was a great experience having to draw everything. I enjoyed watching the people move [across the water].”
This year’s Walk on Water also kicked off the School of Architecture's year-long 25th-anniversary celebrations.