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University of Illinois participates in the Big Ten Student Design Challenge

Dec 17, 2018, 12:40 PM

Big Ten Student Design CompeitionThe Big Ten Student Design Challenge, hosted by the Big Ten Academic Alliances (BTAA) in partnership with the furniture company, Herman Miller is offering students an opportunity to redesign a piece of their own campus and compete for prizes and professional recognition.

Nine schools participating in the challenge are vying for a grand prize of up to $80K of Herman Miller furniture, $20k of renovation costs covered by the BTAA, and the chance to have their winning design built on their campus. A $2,000 cash prize for the winning student team, plus the opportunity to travel to the Herman Miller headquarters and network with industry professionals, has enticed students from across the disciplines to sharpen their pencils and think creatively.

The lounge area in the basement of the Foreign Language Building was chosen for a redesign on the Urbana-Champaign campus because of the high volume of students, staff, and faculty that use the space. Thirteen design proposals were submitted by University of Illinois students, more proposals than were received by any other campus. Each proposal included a detailed rationale, the furniture selected, and graphic renderings of the reimagined space. A team of faculty and staff scored the student proposals and selected one design to represent our campus. The winning team was Super Studio, composed of students Estefany Chavez-Ruiz, David Figueroa, and Harjot Sidhu. Their winning proposal will now move on to the second round of judging against the other eight campuses later this month.

One reason for the high number of Illinois proposals may be due to the strong design thinking culture that has been growing on this campus since the announcement of the new Siebel Center for Design. Several faculty members, including David Weightman and Rachel Switsky incorporated the challenge into their design thinking courses this semester encouraging students to research the space and develop design solutions that meet the unique needs of our campus. Win or lose, the opportunity to participate in this real-world design challenge has been a valuable learning experience for our students.

Ava Wolf from CITL, along with assistance from Jamie Nelson, serves as the Illinois project lead.

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