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Grand plans: winning student designs for engineering learning space

By Laura Gallagher
Monday 3 July 2006

A plan for an engineering building with a study area that feels like a tranquil forest has won the EnVision 2010 competition to design a purpose-built engineering learning space.

Paul Lee and Harriet Tennent impressed the judges with the holistic design of their 'Lyceum' building, a low energy interactive building where students are involved in running the building's services as an accredited part of their course.

The judges were impressed by innovative ideas like the quarter circle shaped design studio in Chris Jacksons design

'Lyceum' has flexible spaces that could be used by different engineering disciplines. The design includes project spaces for team based learning; a drawing room for technical drawing and geological mapping classes; and a student run café. It also incorporates a quiet study area with tree-like columns to create a 'tranquil forest environment'.

Paul and Harriet, fourth year students in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will share the thousand pound prize.

Harriet explained that she and Paul tried to create an adaptable building which could be used for a multi-disciplinary engineering first year. The spaces were designed to be moved around and used in different layouts. She said: "I'm ecstatic and really excited to have won, I wasnt expecting it."

Dr Ruth Graham, Director of EnVision 2010, said: "EnVision 2010 is all about enriching engineering students' learning experiences and Paul and Harriet's building would be a really dynamic learning environment. They have obviously given a lot of thought to the way the building could be used by different disciplines and its filled with practical, adaptable spaces. There are also some great spaces for team projects and interdisciplinary working."

In second place, winning five hundred pounds, was Paul and Harriet's course-mate Chris Jackson, who completely re-designed level 2 of the Skempton Building for his entry. His innovative design included a design studio shaped like a quarter circle, with the corner area for presentations, seating around it and then bays at the back where groups of up to 10 people could carry out group work.

Chris said: "I wanted to create a design where all the aspects of the brief were fulfilled, with space for practical, theoretical and group work. I'm very pleased to have won second prize."

Dr Graham said of Chris's entry: "Chris took a really imaginative approach to designing an area of the College that could be excitingly redeveloped. His entry was extremely well presented and we were very impressed with his creativity."

"This competition has been a great way to find out what the ideal engineering learning space looks like from a students point of view. The strongest elements of all the entries will feed into the implementation phase of EnVision and help us when were thinking about how to revitalise many of the learning spaces at the College," she added.

Joint entries from Will Crowcombe and Henry Ellender in Mechanical Engineering, and from Paul Iliffe in the same Department and Mania Hormozi in Biomedical Engineering, share the three hundred pound third prize.

EnVision 2010 aims to build on the Faculty of Engineering's already excellent international reputation and create a world centre for excellence in engineering education through innovations in teaching, the curriculum and learning spaces.