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Concept 2050: Ashton Sixth Form students look to the future

Students in the art department have been undertaking a project and on 20th March, their ideas came to fruition at an award giving event.

Concept 2050 is an initiative hailing from ASFCs’ 3D Design and Technology department and set students from the course the task of reimagining Ashton Sixth Form to visualise how it would look in the next 26 years. The final designs from the students would then be judged by a panel of judges from architectural and design backgrounds.

The showcase event saw students from across the college set up their concepts and their final designs in the dining area of the college, with parents and friends of the students coming along to see the fruits of their labour and the competition they were up against.

Spearheading this project was the art department and the 3D design team. We spoke with the 3D design teacher at ASFC to find out more. “Essentially this is a redesign the college architecture project challenging 16–17-year-olds to learn various pieces of software such as Sketch Up, Twin Motion, Sculpturus and Twilight in order to create a series of virtual spaces.” He said. “As well as that they have used traditional sketching and model making techniques, as well as more contemporary ones such as laser cutting. They each have a design sheet which justifies every single idea, so it is not just aesthetic based, but they are all plausible.”

The hard work was on show for all to see, with an impressive number of ideas coming to life through several different disciplines.

One of the students presenting their work on the evening was Abdal Hussain, who had redesigned a communal space for the college, something he said the college is in need of more of. He told us more about his ideas, saying “there are some architectural mistakes in the college like this communal area, which will not fit 1000 students in. So, what I decided to do is make a communal centre. The food market line is also long, so there would be another food market line installed as well. We only have 3D design here, so I have also made a building dedicated to design and engineering.”

Taking inspiration from multiple design aesthetics, Abdul created a stylistic modern looking new building that met the futuristic design that 2050 conjures up.

The work Abdul and the rest of the students produced was up for judging by William Bowers, Megan Proffitt and Millie Bullock of Balfour Beatty and Susanna Smith of Abodiology. After the judges had looked over all of the submissions with a keen eye and debated amongst themselves, it was time to make the decision.

We talked to judge Susanna Smith before they announced the winners to find out more about her work and what they were looking for. “I previously ran the art and design department here and now I am an environmental psychologist and interior designer, so I design spaces underpinned by changing behaviours in a positive way. My role today was to come and have a look at the amazing work and pick out the winners using that information. The standard of work at ASFC has always been amazing but every year it seems to get better and better, the staff here work really hard and the students are so passionate as well. You can see that just walking around here.”

The judges looked over all of the student’s hard work, and then had four awards to give out across the event including most creative response, best interior design, best exterior design and best architectural model. Winning these prizes were the students Euan Wilkinson, Amanee Mah, Jess McCabe, and Martha Cambell respectively.

All of the winners showcased some brilliant designs, but perhaps the most creative design was from student Euan Wilkinson. His concept was unique – having all been made in virtual reality. The space he created was fully realised in HD and was viewable through a VR headset. The site showed off a whole campus of prospective design and any viewer was able to walk around the area to see it all.

The remarkable piece of work is something Euan talked to us more about, saying: “I have just won the award for most creative response to Concept 2050, and I won it for producing a virtual reality and augmented reality response to the concept brief of redesigning the college. I used a variety of ways to do it, like Sketchup and a software called Twinmotion to create what I have done today! I could not tell you how long it took me to produce, I know that the renders took between 12 to 96 hours to render in total. This is a passion of mine and is something that I would love to go into degree apprenticeship wise.”

The principal of the college Lisa Richards was also in attendance to see the works that the students had done. She spoke about the event, saying “this event has happened because of the innovation of our staff and their constant imagination about what they can do better. The students really rise to that challenge by producing such a phenomenal standard of work, and I think they have very bright futures. I think we will be seeing their designs around Greater Manchester and beyond!”

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