Class trip provides firsthand lessons
High school students visit Avora condominium construction site
Feb 19, 2017 | 4182 views | 0 0 comments | 135 135 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Students from Weehawken High School’s Principles of Engineering Design class view a multi-media video showcasing renderings, neighborhood photography and view shots inside Avora’s state-of-the-art sales gallery.
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A brand new elective course, Principles of Engineering Design, became available to juniors and seniors at Weehawken High School this year, and its 29 students are already gaining some real world engineering experience.

On Dec. 15, the class was invited to the Avora, a new 184-unit condominium building under construction along the Weehawken waterfront. Students toured the building’s sales gallery across from the Port Imperial Ferry Terminal and adjacent construction site, and met with development, construction, and marketing professionals to learn about the planning, design and build-out of a large-scale residential building.

Gabe Pasquale, senior vice president of sales and marketing for LandSea, which is developing Avora, led a presentation in the building’s new sales gallery, utilizing a scaled architectural model and interactive displays to detail Avora’s unique design, floor plans, amenity spaces and site orientation.

Pasquale also discussed the evolution of the Weehawken waterfront, outlining the township’s successful integration of new residential uses, public amenities and mass-transit to create a vibrant community with improved access to the waterfront. Pasquale emphasized Weehawken’s adoption of regulations that mandate new residential projects incorporate certain environmentally-friendly elements, a philosophy that aligns with Landsea’s core values.

“Kudos to Weehawken Township for being a leader in encouraging this type of smart, sustainable development,” Pasquale said. “Living green roofs are a good example of a compulsory design feature the township wants to see from developers. They reduce the amount of rainwater that runs into the sewer system and help remove some of the pollutants in the water, as well as provide more scenic views from the cliffs above.”

A tour of the site

Following an active Q&A session, the students were led to the adjacent Avora site where Tom Parker, construction manager for Landsea Homes, provided them with an overview of the engineering and building process in action, including the many intricate details that go into the construction of an 11-story building with a unique stepped-back architectural design.

Paul Bannon, the Principles in Engineering Design teacher, said that the class trip was particularly well timed considering they are currently working on a project that involves designing sustainable housing.

“This was a great opportunity for the students to experience firsthand what they’ve been learning about in class,” Bannon said. “I think it was a real eye opener for them to see some of the elements of our lessons come to life.”

Kevin, a junior in Bannon’s class, said the trip was informative and fun. His father is a general contractor and Kevin became interested in construction and engineering at an early age. He’s also fascinated by space and he hopes to combine his two passions and pursue a career as an Astronautical Engineer.

“It was cool coming here today, learning about how everything operates and seeing a real construction site in action,” Kevin said.

Jamil, another junior in Bannon’s class, is interested in both engineering and architecture as possible careers. He enjoyed viewing the Avora scale model and hearing about all of the details developers must consider before moving forward with construction.

“It was good to see this in person and to have professionals explain it all to us,” Jamil said.

The Principles of Engineering Design course is a survey course of engineering in the Weehawken High School Business & Technology Department. It gives students the opportunity to investigate engineering concepts, explore high tech careers and develop problem solving skills. For more information, visit For more information on Avora, visit

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