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.

Top 3 Teams Selected

Let’s congratulate these teams on advancing to the final round of competition! To recap, 64 total submissions were received across 9 competing schools. Each school held a local judging round to select a team to represent them in this national judging round.

The top 3 teams are:

Students from these teams have won a very special trip to Herman Miller Headquarters located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Taking place in February, the teams will spend two days working alongside academic and industry professionals to refine their proposals and pitch a polished version of their design for final judging. The winning team will be awarded a $2000 cash prize. Over summer, their proposal will be built with furniture provided free of cost from Herman Miller (up to $80,000 in value) and a $20,000 renovation budget provided by BTAA.

Judges for the national round consisted of one representative of each competing university plus one representative from Herman Miller. Each of the judges selected and ranked their top 3 proposals before meeting to reach consensus. With so many strong proposals, the decision was incredibly tough, and a second round of voting became necessary to fill the third and final slot. The vote took place between none other than The Ohio State University vs. University of Michigan, among which exists a longstanding, competitive athletic rivalry. Ohio State prevailed in the closest victory possible, a vote of 5-4.

See related article: Top 9 Teams Selected

Top 9 Teams Selected

The Big Ten Student Design Challenge local judging committee has officially narrowed down the applicant pool to the top 9 submissions.

Each school designated a particular space to be redesigned on their campus so proposals varied between and within participating universities. In total we received 64 entries across the 9 competing schools. Due to the nature of the competition criteria, the student teams come from a variety of different backgrounds, majors and class ranks. Each group created their own design and selected furnishings from a Herman Miller catalog customized for this competition.

A common theme 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 or warmth. If natural light was not available (e.g., basement or no windows), teams incorporated small plants into their designs to connect the décor to nature. The top team from each school is listed below with a link to their winning proposal:

The next step of the competition will take place over the week of December 17th, 2018 as judges narrow the top 9 from each school down to the top 3 overall. The top 3 teams will win a trip to Herman Miller headquarters to collaborate with industry professionals and refine their design for a final pitch before a single winning design is chosen and built. Stay tuned for the results!