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Consider the following scenario:

  • Design a school to help rekindle a community devastated by natural or man-made disaster.
  • Design a school that is both adaptive and nomadic for a range of environments regardless of condition.
  • Design a school that is sustainable and priced to allow a community to realistically take advantage of the solution.
  • Design a school that is deliverable to the community regardless of transportation options.
  • Design a school that can help the community stage a “return to normalcy” as rebuilding eventually begins.
  • Now, imagine you’re 16 or 17. It’s summer break. You’re walking into a professional architecture office. You’ve never formally studied architecture before and must learn everything on the fly. You’ve just joined a group of kids you’ve never met before. And you’ve been told that you have one week to not only create an innovative solution to the previous scenario, but you must publically present your ideas to a large audience and professional jury on the final evening.

    Such was the case for a group of 6 high school students this past week who entered the innovative design program called NGDI (standing for the Next Generation Design Institute). The program offered by Huckabee, a K-12 architecture firm in Texas, and co-sponsored by the University of Texas at Arlington School of Architecture, is in its 4th year…but this summer they decided to push the kids to radically re-think the future of school design via a scenario inspired by the recent hurricanes in the Gulf Coast and the tsunami in Indonesia.

    The company’s recent press release offers a bold summation of the potential that comes out of seeing kids dive head first into such programs:

    Each team came up with a different, yet successful solution that met each of the criteria.

    “It was nothing short of impressive,” said Chris Huckabee (Huckabee’s CEO). “Think back on when YOU were 17 and 18. Where were you? Probably laying out by the pool or sitting on the couch watching television. It’s their summer vacation and look how they chose to spend it! They’re sitting in an auditorium surrounded by their family, friends, school administrators, judges and architects- what a tough crowd! These kids are leaders – I can say without question that our future is in good hands.”

    In addition, DesignShare was honored to join other local professionals in the jury panel. Jury members offered feedback to the students that included not only the quality of the design solutions but also to their ability to respond to the ‘audience’ while presenting in a passionate and professional manner.

    Want to learn more?

    Go to the Huckabee website and look for the “Six High School Students Seek to Make a Difference” article on the left side of the page. Contact Huckabee’s Corey Wheat or Jennifer Clariday to learn more about the program.

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