Matthew Powell | August 06, 2014
When we think of classrooms, a classic trope comes to mind: a standard box, rows of desks and chairs facing front, and some kind of instructional board. But what if that model no longer functions for our modern-minded students? Steelcase Education and Steelcase Design Alliances launched the NEXT Student Design Competition to explore this problem.
Instead of turning to established professionals, Steelcase is calling out to people who spend the majority of their time in classrooms: design students. College juniors and seniors from Council for Interior Design Accreditation schools are invited to compete. Submissions must include designs for a large classroom, smaller active learning classrooms, a faculty center, and a student work-café. As Madelyn Hankins, principal at Design Alliances at Steelcase, said, “Most education spaces today are decades old and as a result, inadequately support the needs to today’s students and educators.” The hope is that by asking these young minds, we might arrive on some innovative designs that will increase student engagement and retention.
Professors in design programs are encouraged to incorporate the competition into their fall curriculum, and students are welcome to participate via independent study. Registration ends October 3, with final entries due November 21. Finalists of the competition will be announced in December, and a trip to the Steelcase University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, will follow.