In a few minutes, Barack Obama will give his Back to School speech (read full text at the Huffington Post), just after the results for the 2009 Open Architecture Challenge are announced.
Near the ending, Obama says “I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too”. Cameron Sinclair, founder of Architecture for Humanity, responds on Twitter “Sir, your welcome”.
This year the Open Architecture Challenge called architects, designers and engineers to rethink the classroom of the future. Sounds like a typical competition, but it is not: they were required to collaborate with real students in real schools in their community to develop real solutions.
The winner of this year’s Challenge is the Teton Valley Community School, with a project designed with the emerging practice Section Eight [design]. The Teton Valley Community School in a non-profit independent school located in Victor, Idaho, which is one of the most underfunded school systems in the nation. Currently the school is based out of a remodeled house, but thanks to this award they are closer to get a full classroom.
There are also other awards that I will describe later, but this is more than just prizes. The Challenge received over 1,000 entries, entries that can become real projects that can help improve the quality of education around the world. Architecture for Humanity established the Classroom Upgrade Fund, that hopes to provide seed funding and support to local schools in implementing the design solutions they have developed.
2009 Open Architecture Challenge results:
Challenge Winner: Teton Valley Community School, Victor, Idaho, USA
Designed by: Section Eight [design], Victor, Idaho, USA
Founders’ Award: The Corporación Educativa y Social Waldorf, Bogota, Colombia
Designed by: Arquitectura Justa, Bogota, Colombia
Best Urban Classroom Upgrade Design: Rumi School of Excellence, Hyderabad, India
Designed: IDEO, San Francisco, CA, USA
Best Rural Classroom Design: Building Tomorrow Academy, Wakiso and Kiboga, Uganda
Designed by: Gifford LLP, London, UK
Best Re-locatable Classroom Design: Druid Hills High School, Georgia, USA
Designed by: Perkins and Will, Georgia, USA