Inspiring the next generation of designers
Back in April, members of our PTEN (professional training and education network) group entered the Structure Rocks competition to create an innovative engineering-focussed activity to run during Archikids Festival 2015. The Archikids Festival, an Open-City family weekend festival of 30+ free architectural activities located in the City of London’s Square Mile, aimed to inspire the next generation.
Impressed with the ambitious proposals to build a 3D model of London’s Square Mile, integrated with LEDs for kids to light up using interactive mini-renewable power generating systems, our activity was selected by the jury and we were granted £500 to realise the plans.
Through dedication and imagination our team produced a professional model of the city wired to mini solar panels, a hydro turbine and a wind turbine. During the festival in July, excitable kids pumped water over the turbine paddles, moved solar panels out of the buildings’ shadows and drew, cut and stuck together their own wind turbine blades. Through their efforts, and despite the bright day-lit dome that drowned the full impact of the LEDs, families witnessed the city lighting up through renewable energy sources.
While some children just enjoyed splashing water and cutting shapes, others asked our volunteers questions and learned about renewable energy systems inspired by the activity. Parents appreciated the educational aspect of the activity and the immediate response of the LEDs. The weekend was great fun and we hope we have inspired some of the next generation of sustainability engineers.