January 22, 2015

Steelcase Names Winning Design for Classroom of the Future

Steelcase Design Competition Winner Headshot Thumb

Who better to turn a laser-sharp eye on the constant evolution of learning spaces than the design industry’s forward-thinking students? Seeking to push the boundaries of educational design,

Steelcase Education and Steelcase Design Alliances launched its NEXT Student Design Competition

last year, turning to undergraduate juniors and seniors at schools with

Council for Interior Design Accreditation

for proposals. Selected from over 800 submissions, Emma Montgomery of

Kansas State University

took the grand prize at a ceremony held in Steelcase’s headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan for her proposal that would increase student engagement and retention.

Earning herself a $1,000 cash prize plus an additional $1,000 prize for Kansas State’s design program, Montgomery modeled her idea off of the concept of “urban porosity,” which encompasses the principles of collaboration, transparency, and flexibility. Understanding the importance of both individual and collaborative workspaces, her proposal showed areas for a variety of social interactions ranging from cafes to quieter “heads-down” study areas. The type of furniture specified further informed each area’s purpose.

“Montgomery’s proposal demonstrated a strong research component, giving consideration to extroverts vs. introverts, collaboration between students and faculty, and the mutability of spaces,” says Madelyn Hankins, Principal, Design Alliances at Steelcase.

Other finalists included Erns Wall (University of Manitoba), Heather Furman (Marymount University), Sara Diesburg (Southern Illinois University), and Shannon Myers (Virginia Tech).

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