And the Winner is…Ohio State!

Ohio State team students left to right: Kelia Todd, Tyler Hatton, Haemin Park.

The competition all came down to the final pitch, and this summer Ohio State will be seeing a brand new- student built space on their Columbus campus. The judges decided that the design of Kelia Todd, Tyler Hatton and Haemin Park was the most cohesive and well thought out, their space focusing on three main concepts; collaboration, relaxation and concentration. These students will continue to work with Herman Miller in different steps of the construction phase throughout the next few months. After the winning space is completed, Ohio State will be able to actually use the space. The goal moving forward is to conduct research on how students interact with the space, and to measure the effectiveness of and satisfaction with that space and how it impacts their learning.

“Knowing you have control not only in how a space looks, but how people act in a space I think is very important,” said Kelia Todd, an interior design major from Ohio State participating in the competition.

A common theme in the designs across teams included balancing both work and relaxation areas, but with a small separation through strategic placement of furniture. Another important factor seemed to be the incorporation of natural light, warmth or small plants to connect the décor to nature.

“Students, when they graduate from college…need to be able to work with each other, pitch their ideas, identify problems and think about ways to solve those problems. The design challenge is an opportunity to really engage all of those things. It prepares them for the world they will live and work in after graduation”
-Liv Gjestvang, Associate Vice President of Learning Technology at Ohio State.

Ohio State staff, faculty and students at the airport on the way home. Left to Right: Queenie Chow, Tyler Hatton, Hemin Park, Rebekah Matheny, Mike Polk, Kelia Todd, and Jason Hazel.

Each of the nine participating universities identified a winning team locally, and that team went on to a national competition. The pool of nine was judged by representatives of all universities as well as BTAA and Herman Miller and then narrowed down to the top three teams. Those three teams traveled to Herman Miller headquarters in Michigan to pitch their designs to a team of academics and professionals, receive feedback on those designs, and then polish their proposals and present again. All of this occurred over the course of a dynamic, if stressful two day workshop.

Susan Whitmer, lead researcher for education at Herman Miller, was thrilled to be a part of this experience to engage with and give exposure to students in a professional design setting.

“They (students) are developing, from their point of view, the solution and presenting it to us. We give them feedback, and then we’re interested to see what they do with the feedback and how it really helps them along their journey of coming up with a solution. That’s what learning is about.”

Click here to read a full recap of the competition.