While some students spend their summer playing at the beach, a group of architecture and design pupils were designing a beach house and waterfront amphitheatre.

The project was part of the Metal Construction Association's student design competition. The annual event, now in its ninth year, offers students at schools of architecture in the United States and Canada to learn about designing and building with metal. Entrants tackle architectural, structural, functional and environmental issues associated with designs that use metal in sheets or other forms as well as metal structures.

Each year, the association and a team of architects and park planners develop a different project theme, typically related to recreation. Contestants must consider significant aspects of the location, climate, the local community and history of the area. This year's challenge was to design a 4,800-square-foot beach house with a bait shop, convenience store and lakefront amphitheatre with a restaurant.

All plans must meet the standard criteria for the building in Chicago's climate and use "green" building concepts as defined by the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.

Through this program, MCA has awarded $5,750 each year for the past eight years to students, faculty sponsors and the schools of the competition's winning entries. However, this year MCA has raised the total of the prizes to $7,800.

MCA distributed materials and entry forms over the summer. The deadline for all entries must be received by MCA by Nov. 6.

For more information, visitwww.metalconstruction.org.