At the end of the last academic year the powers that be in Imperial decided to run a design competition to design an engineering teaching space. The competition was run as part of the EnVision 2010 project which is currently reviewing all aspects of the college?s teaching of engineering.
As an incentive to enter, a prize of £1000 for the winner was put up by college with additional runners up prizes of £500 and £300.
I decided to take the existing level 2 area of the civil engineering building and totally rework it as having spent four years of my life in and around this space I figured I could make many improvements! So, having got hold of some engineering drawings of the space it was time to press the good old delete button in CAD to remove anything that wasn?t needed to hold the building up and then start adding back what I thought was needed.
My first priority in reallocating space was to turn the mezzanine area of the structures lab into something more exciting than a bare open space into an area where both group work and teaching could take place side by side and in comfort, sort of a creative design type class area that provided far more useful space than is currently used.
Following on from that thought was the desire to link the various parts of the labs, workshop and teaching facilities together so that teaching and learning could take place in any of these spaces and barriers between them were reduced. To do this access routes between the areas were increased and where walls were necessary they were made out of glass to increase visibility and awareness of the activities of each section.
The final challenge was to incorporate a computer room which didn?t immediately make people want to fall asleep. Easier said than done but by building in custom furniture, lighting and allowing the outside world to be seen it became possible!
Having completed the areas above, a final flourish of a new seating area with café were added to ensure that the students of Civ Eng didn?t need to walk in the rain for mid lecture caffeine and that the common area to sit in was actually comfortable.
So, at the end of the day has anyone taken notice of the proposals? Well, in a word, no, or at least not as far as I am aware! This in part is probably due to the cost which although never estimated, would be high. However, I did manage to scoop the second place prize which just about kept me fed over the summer between leaving uni and starting work, so the effort was worth it!