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Team Ucycle Wins Design for Social Change Charrette - UPDATE

Team Ucycle Wins Design for Social Change Charrette - UPDATE

: Photo by Mark Bocek.

The competition was fierce and the decision close, but when the designs were presented, the ideas vetted and the judging done, Team Ucycle won the day.

NEW: DSC Charrette Slideshow.

PICTURE: Cornish President Nancy Uscher presents the big check for first place to Ucycle team members Sam Shockley and Amanda Staunton.

Design for Social Change (DSC): in its second year, the design award focuses on putting Cornish design students in touch with sustainable design. This year, students formed teams to compete on a charrette for ideas to transform the college’s Main Campus Center (MCC) into a structure with a small environmental footprint. The charrette is the brain child of Cornish Visiting Professor Natalia Ilyin, who also teaches the class that is the basis for the award. The DSC Charrette is open to entries from students in all majors at Cornish. This year a number of Humanities students created their own teams and joined the competition.

When the judging was done, students and faculty gathered outside the design area along with Cornish President Nancy Uscher. Clearly impressed with the student work, Dr. Uscher congratulated all the teams and presented the results:

1st Place: Ucycle
Runner up: Everwarm
2nd runner up: Flow

The experts who signed on to judge the charrette were heavy-hitters in environmental design, Susan S. Szenasy, Editor in Chief of New York’s Metropolis Magazine, and Robert Hull, FAIA, Founding Partner of
The Miller Hull Partnership, recipient of the AIA National Firm Award. They joined faculty members Grant Donesky, the design department chair, and Julie Myers, ASID, associate professor of design.

Szenasy and Hull were impressed with the overall effort. “I really love all the work done by the teams,” says Szenasy, “congratulations for a great effort to all!”

With so many strong entries, what put Ucycle over the top? “The team looks at cause and effect close to home,” says Susan Szenasy, “not just environmental but human health and well being. … [S]tudents like everyone else need to get moving, and by hooking up their pedal power in the gym to the energy system, they deal with two pressing issues with one, brilliant design.”

Robert Hull had a few quibbles about the feasibility of running energy back into the grid with a 3-prong plug and a revolving door, but liked UCycle’s direction, too. “Using gym equipment to reduce the energy needs in the gym area is a very good idea, says Hull, “[It’s a] good idea to generate healthy life style. … this kind of idea can generate a lot of student interest … who can generate the most power?”

Team Ucycle split the first prize of $500, presented by Nancy Uscher in the form of a gigantic check, the biggest on campus. Ucycle was created by Amanda Staunton, Mikey Ferdinand, Blair Gibson and Sam Shockley.

Sam Shockley summed up their idea this way. “You’re recycling YOU every day.” The team believed that marketing was key to getting students involved. They created Ucycle swag to build awareness and rates of participation. They also thought it was important to engage people, such as with reactive stairway pads that generate energy while providing feedback to the user. “Every step is fun,” says Shockley.

Everwarm centered on changing the way the MCC is heated, moving toward using efficient, floor-embedded radiant heat. Team Everwarm was Matthew Bradley, Danita Bayer and Nicole Chilcott. Matthew Bradley believes that their team worked very well together, and were inspired by the process: “It was great to balance what is practical with what is ‘out of the box.’”

Flow was inspired by the “movement of energy through wind and electricity.” Their signature feature was a turbine system to capture energy from the MCC café vents. Nikko and Christine were there to talk about their team’s work. “It was great to work cross-discipline with Christine,” said Nikko, who is a design student. “Christine is in interiors.”

The ring leader of the DSC is unquestionably Professor Natalia Ilyin. “The DSC Prize always reminds me that Design is not Art,” says Ilyin “artists look within and create to express something they must reveal—designers look out, and create to solve other people’s problems.”

Ilyin has worked extensively in the industry as a designer and brand consultant. In the world of education, she has taught at Rhode island School of Design, Yale University, The Cooper Union and the University of Washington.


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