Worldwide, 776 million people are illiterate. To address this crisis by providing access to a quality education for all children, there is an urgent need to upgrade the crumbling infrastructure of tens of millions of existing classrooms, and build ten million new classrooms. Meeting this challenge represents the largest building project the world has ever undertaken.
In response, Orient Global, Architecture for Humanity, and a consortium of partners have launched the “2009 Open Architecture Challenge: Classroom”–a large-scale initiative to improve the design of classrooms around the world.
The Challenge invites the global design and construction community to collaborate with primary and secondary school teachers and students to create safer, healthier, and smarter learning environments. Teams can partner with a school of their choice or design a classroom for one of the Challenge’s school-building partners.
“Orient Global believes that education is the first step on the bridge to prosperity, yet it is inaccessible to many and is of poor quality for tens of millions,” said Richard F. Chandler, Chairman of Orient Global. “The 2009 Open Architecture Challenge is an exciting opportunity to better understand and serve the needs of schoolchildren worldwide, enhancing learning environments and delivering the knowledge and skills necessary to cross the bridge to a brighter future.”
“What sets this competition apart from others is that we are calling upon the design community to collaborate directly with schools to improve their own classrooms,” said Cameron Sinclair, executive director and co-founder, Architecture for Humanity. “By creating hundreds of locally appropriate and tangible solutions, we create a portfolio of designs for partners such as Orient Global and others to begin to scale globally.”
The winning school will receive up to $50,000 to build or improve its classrooms, and its design team will receive a $5,000 grant to help make it happen. The design competition will be judged by an international, interdisciplinary panel of experts in the fields of both education and architecture (including students themselves). The resulting entries will be available and accessible to all on the Open Architecture Network.
The challenge offers a companion design curriculum geared for primary and secondary age students hosted by online partner Curriki, as well as a series of video conferences between primary and secondary students and notable design professionals from around the world hosted by partner Global Nomads Group. These conversations will be shared on the Web during the submission period. By inviting design professionals to partner with schools, the challenge aims to inspire students around the world to become visionary architects and engineers of the future.
More About The Challenge
Launched on January 29, 2009, the 2009 Open Architecture Challenge: Classroom is now open for registration until May 1, 2009. Entries are due June 1, 2009.
The Challenge is open to design professionals and non-professionals in partnership with primary and secondary school teachers and students. Entry fee is $25 per entry (fee waiver for entrants from developing nations).
The jury is made up of leaders in education and architecture (including students) to be hosted online and at the 2009 Aspen Ideas Festival.
School Award: The winning entry will receive up to $50,000 to build or improve classrooms for their school.
Design Award: The winning design team will receive a grant of up to $5,000 to help their school build or improve classrooms.
Partners and Sponsors
Principal Partner: Orient Global
Sponsors: AMD 50×15 Initiative, Bezos Family Foundation, Google SketchUp, Graham Foundation, Irvin Stern Family Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts
Education Partners: Curriki, Global Nomads Group
School Building Partners: Orient Global, Building Tomorrow, Blazer Industries, The Modular Building Institute
Challenge Partners: The Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS), Do Something, Dwell Magazine, Global Green USA, The Aspen Institute, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), The Council of Educational Facility Planners (CEFPI)
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