Young Persons’ Design Challenge – Forward Thinking Design Ingenuity

We now begin the enthralling task of selecting entries for the next stage of the Young Persons’ Design Challenge.

How quickly the closing date for submissions to the Young Persons’ Design Challenge has come around. We now begin the awesome but enthralling task of reaping the harvest of their design innovation and ingenuity and the difficult job of creating a shortlist from all the entries we have received. The shortlisted teams will be invited to a grand showcase final we are hoping will take place in the Autumn. Gerry Ruffles, MOBIE’s Head of Education, reports.

Whilst we are eagerly anticipating delving into this Aladdin’s Cave of youthful, forward thinking design creativity, we are very mindful of our responsibility in selecting only a small proportion of the many entries to go forward to the final presentation stage. We never take for granted the enormous amount of time, thought and work that has to be channelled into producing a design proposal that answers a demanding and forward-looking brief such as this Home of 2030. Some fortunate students are able to intertwine competition briefs with college or university course design modules, therefore maximising time and available resources. Curriculum constraints in schools often necessitates the formulating of after school clubs and weekend get togethers to work upon their projects in their own time.

18 year old BTEC Construction and Built Environment students at Harlow College discussing their Home of 2030 designs

This is the fourth student design challenge in which MOBIE has been involved and the commitment, passion, skill, creativity and technical ability never fails to amaze us. Before we even start to critique and make decisions about the entries, we know this will be not just tough but agonising. Each and every submission is the result of considerable commitment, passion and dedication. Young people caring and wanting to make a contribution and affect the way that they and their families will live in their homes in the next and future decades. Not all the entrants will be invited to present in person but each and every one of them is, in fact, a winner and deserving of our praise and gratitude in rising to the challenge.

13-16 year old students from Nottingham Girls Academy sharing their modular home proposals with MOBIE’s Head of Education

The shortlisting team will work separately and score to a demanding and wide-reaching set of criteria, (Design, Technology, Technicality, Communication and Materiality). They will select entries from each of the four age categories to display and set out their design proposals before eminent judges from industry, architecture and education.

The date of this final presentation event is to be confirmed as soon as we are able, and at this event the schools and colleges involved will get an opportunity to present to and impress innovators and illuminati from our industry including George Clarke and Mark Farmer. In the meantime, we will be inviting those who are selected to create a short video and presentation material which we will make available on the Home of 2030 website.

Three quarters of the entries have been from groups or teams of students with a quarter opting to work alone. The significantly largest number of submissions have come from the 14-16 age category followed by the 18-25-year-old university students, then the 16-18 year olds. But as we expected the youngest group, the 11-14teens confidently rose to the challenge and will give the higher educationalists a good run for their money. Boys outweigh the girls nearly two to one in pure numbers of submissions but certainly not in talent and inspiration.

Designs include communal living schemes, specifically for the ageing, women, special needs, farming and self-sufficiency. Others are planning homes focusing on the outside, shared areas for socialising and food production, attaching less prominence to the home itself but looking to mould a ‘community’ lifestyle. Much attention has been devoted to technologies and materials, and everyone places huge importance on protecting, improving the environment and sustainable building and living. We have some amazing examples of presentation skills from professional standards of CAD to brilliant hand sketches and storyboards.

If these designers of tomorrow’s built environment are encouraged and allowed to shape our future living then we are good hands, both in the near future with our degree students, also further down the road when our 11-14 year olds, with their obvious love of design, technology and our planet, reach graduation.