“Design”ing the Perfect CUS Project

Designing his own home has always been something senior Max Wondolowski wanted to do. Growing up, he would play with Legos and Lincoln Logs, hoping to be an architect or engineer some day. Through his Coginchaug Senior Project (CUSP), Wondolowski got to fulfill that dream by designing and creating his own 3D model of a prairie-style house.

Part of the CUSP requirements include having a third-party mentor outside of school. Wondolowski chose Bob Bascom and Pat Benjamin, owners of Bascom and Benjamin, an engineering and construction company based Durham. After working with Bascom for a few months, Wondolowski was offered a summer job at the engineering firm.

“This scratched the surface of what I want to do with my life,” Wondolowski said about being in the field of engineering. “I have a real passion for architecture; I love homes and the idea of making and designing them.”

Throughout the months of design, Wondolowski made many changes and drafts of his home. The final design of the house included two floors, plus an attic and basement for utilities. Centered around the hearth, the house has two bedrooms, a U-shaped kitchen, an open dining room and a living area. In addition to all the rooms, Wondolowski included first- and second-story decks, a front porch and a garage.

During the process, Wondolowski learned so many new things about home design, such as the kitchen work triangle, an idea that in order to have the most efficient kitchen, you need to have the fridge, the sink and the stovetop within a triangle of 250 square inches. He also met with his in-school mentor, Mr. Larry Gaechter, to go through the designs and get his input. Gaechter, a former architect, made many changes to the drafts and gave Wondolowski different ideas on how to make the house better. Wondolowski ran into some struggles, such as getting the terrain right and putting the roof on, but learned from these problems and will continue to use these lessons learned in his future of engineering.

Wondolowski announced that he will be attending UConn in the fall to study engineering in hopes to become an architect. He wants to continue working with Bascom and Benjamin during college.

“I’m happy because I did design a house, and that was the goal,” Wondolowski explained. “I did something I’ve always wanted to do… I’m really glad that I got to accomplish all I did. It’s always something I’ve been drawn to, and it’s a lot of fun.”


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