Designing for the Old Library

This session brought together two of our sponsors, OMI and H. H. Smith, and our good friends Lister Steps.

Having delivered primary school workshops earlier this year for Lister Steps to engage young people in the design on the community room, it was great to be back in the building to see all the progress that’s been made!

Aaron from OMI and Diane from H. H. Smith lead a fantastic tour. They introduced the participants to the building’s history, future, challenges and vision for the future when it sets yo reopen as Lister Step’s community centre in Summer 2020.

After we braved the cold, it was back to Lister Step’s current centre to hear more from Aaron. We learnt more about the types of projects OMI works on, what it’s like being an architect, and how he got there. It was really fantastic to hear about the route that he went through from being a student to now being a professionals architect, and he also dispelled some of the myths around the sector, namely that you have to be amazing at maths!

Then, on to the design project. The group split into teams to design multi-functional furniture and interpretation designs. With Aaron’s advice, they explored how they could use contrast to highlight the difference between new and old, and add an interesting visual dynamic into the building.

Designs included:

  • A series of individual desks which could be bolted together for group work. It also included a reading nook for young children that could be used while the parent is at the desk
  • Table tops with historical information under a glass surface so that information could be changed over time. and used to sit different activities
  • Benches and workspaces in the form of a book which could be folded out and stored neatly
  • An octagonal table to mirror the entrance foyer with chairs that can fold inside. Also had usb charging points for visitors phones
  • Bookshelf-come-seating which could be stacked in different ways to suit different numbers of people

Thanks again to OMI, H. H. Smith and Lister Steps for making this session happen. We felt very fortunate to see such a wonderful building being restored with such love and care, and we’re all so excited to be able go back and see it when it’s open!

And lastly, a bug thank you to also our wonderful volunteers Tazeen and Vikki for supporting the session.

Creating places with Avison Young and DTM Legal

What is the process and who is involved in the property development cycle? Where do designers fit in, and who do they work with? Our sponsors Avison Young – represented by Jonny Lowe – and DTM Legal – Isabel Rial and Guy Thomas – put together a fantastic October evening session for us to find out.

We started the session by being introduced to their own careers and career paths, as well as being told about a current project in development. We could see their design plans and see where it was going to happen out of the office of their window. So, how did it get to this point?

Academy group was split between our sponsors, and were tasked with matching the types of activity that would happen at different stages of development with the people that were responsible for them.

This activity really opened their eyes in understanding how collaborative the whole process is, and how important each person’s skills are in making sure the project is realised. As they demonstrated on a jenga tower, when we remove pieces – people, skills and processes – from the tower, the whole structure gets weaker.

This evening session was also a fantastic opportunity for the students to get to know our sponsors. They offered their own personal insights to how they got to where they are, what they enjoy doing and some pieces of advice for our participants. It was extremely valuable to introduce the group to the wide range of careers and career pathways available to them, as they are still considering where they feel they might fir in the built environment.

We finished the session on some top pieces of advice for the Academy participants:

“Work hard!”, Guy Thomas

“Do what you enjoy”, Jonny Lowe

“Do what you enjoy and be humble”, Isabel Rial

Thanks again to our amazing sponsors for supporting the PLACED Academy and sharing their experience, knowledge and time with the group.

Presenting you!

On 26th September, WEDGE Collective launched the first of our Academy evening sessions, with their workshop ‘Presenting You’. Founder and Director of WEDGE Collective, Jodie Greenwood, has worked with PLACED for over 10 years now and was keen to help our participants develop their presenting skills and boost their self-esteem, after chatting to our young people and discovering this was the aspect of the project they were feeling least confident about.

We started the session with an introduction to WEDGE Collective and both Jodie Greenwood and Operations Director, Abi Inglis’s career paths, highlighting their areas of study and how they came to setting up the business.

With discussions, group chats and individual work, we covered the difference between self-confidence and self-esteem and the importance of both, target and goal setting methods and our young people were introduced to the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of networking and how to confidently present themselves in an array of professional situations – useful to their future careers and also during the progression of their studies.

Then on to presenting! Using the tips and skills picked up throughout the workshop, participants were set the challenge of writing a pitch about themselves, in the scenario that they were presenting to a potential employer, at a networking event. Jodie introduced the method of ‘elevator pitching’ to them and with the help of WEDGE’s resource booklet and timed method of writing, our participants formed a comprehensive 60 second pitch, which they went on to present to a group and received critique upon!